Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Division of Walt Disney Studios
Industry Motion pictures
Founded 1953 (as Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc.)
Headquarters 500 S. Buena Vista Street,
Burbank, California
, United States
Key people
Dave Hollis (Vice-president)[1]
Services Film distribution and marketing
Parent The Walt Disney Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
Website Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is an American motion picture distribution division owned by The Walt Disney Company.[2]

Established in 1953 as Buena Vista Distribution Company, the unit handles distribution, marketing and promotion for films produced by the Walt Disney Studios; including Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Touchstone Pictures.[3]

The division took on its current name in 2007,[3] which before that had been Buena Vista Pictures Distribution since 1986.[4]


Prior to 1953, Walt Disney's productions were distributed by Columbia Pictures, United Artists and RKO Radio Pictures.[3] However, a dispute over the value of Disney's True-Life Adventures series of live-action documentary featurettes[citation needed] in 1953 led to Walt and his older brother Roy Oliver Disney to form its wholly owned subsidiary, the Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc. (BVDC), to handle the U.S. distribution of their own product.[3] Buena Vista's first release was the Academy Award–winning live-action feature The Living Desert on November 10, 1953 along with Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, Buena Vista's first animated release.[5] Notable subsequent releases include the foreign film, Yang Kwei Fei (Most Noble Lady), released in US theaters in September 1956,[6][7] The Missouri Traveler in March 1958,[5] and The Big Fisherman in July 1959 (the first third-party production financed by Disney).[5]

In April 1960, the company dropped "Film" from its name.[4] In 1961, Disney incorporated Buena Vista International (BVI),[8] distributing its first PG rated film, Take Down, in January 1979.[5] In July 1987, Buena Vista changed its name to Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. (BVPD).[4]

In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would distribute internationally Studio Ghibli animated films.[9] In September 1996, following Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. was merged[4] into ABC, Inc.,[10] the parent company of that group.

In 2002, Disney signed a four animated film deal with Vanguard Animation,[11] however, only one film was released under that negotiation.[12]

Buena Vista International agreed to a distribution deal with MegaStar Joint Venture Company Limited in April 2006 for the Vietnam market.[13]

In April 2007, Disney discontinued using the Buena Vista moniker in its distribution branding.[3]


Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is noteworthy for having seven films that have surpassed the $1-billion-mark in worldwide box office sales:

Disney has released the most films that have crossed the $1-billion-mark (in worldwide grosses) among major Hollywood studios.[18] In addition, Disney is the first of only two studios that have released two billion-dollar films in the same year (the other being Warner Bros.).[19][20] Furthermore, Disney is the only studio that has achieved this twice, in 2010 and 2013. The top three highest grossing animated films have been released by Disney, as well as sixteen of the twenty highest grossing G-rated films.[21] In 2013, Disney achieved its largest yearly box-office gross worldwide, as well as separately in North America and outside North America.[22]

The company distributes all feature films produced by The Walt Disney Studios, other Disney film units and some third-party studios including:

Currently distributed[23] Formerly distributed Tertiary distribution deals

International arrangements[edit]

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International was formed in 1961 as Buena Vista International, Inc..[5] In 1992, Disney opted to end a previous joint venture with Warner Bros., that began in 1988 to distribute their films in overseas markets (UK, Ireland, Benelux & Scandinavia). In those territories from 1993-2007, Disney reactivated the Buena Vista International name, and also sent distribution under it in countries that did not have any current arrangements with other companies. Distribution rights in West Germany were given to MGM (under CIC in the early 1970s) and later to 20th Century Fox before the Warner Bros. joint venture. In Russia and CIS, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, Disney films had been distributed in a joint venture with Sony Pictures Entertainment.[31][32] In Japan, distribution rights are handled in partnership with Toho.

Other international distributors

Highest-grossing films[edit]

Highest-grossing films
Rank Title Year Studio label Domestic gross
1 The Avengers 2012 Marvel Studios $623,357,910
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006 Walt Disney Pictures $423,315,812
3 The Lion King* 1994 Walt Disney Pictures $422,783,777
4 Toy Story 3 2010 Walt Disney Pictures $415,004,880
5 Iron Man 3 2013 Marvel Studios $409,013,994
6 Frozen 2013 Walt Disney Pictures $400,738,009
7 Finding Nemo* 2003 Walt Disney Pictures $380,843,261
8 Alice in Wonderland 2010 Walt Disney Pictures $334,191,110
9 Guardians of the Galaxy 2014 Marvel Studios $332,226,145
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2007 Walt Disney Pictures $309,420,425
11 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 Walt Disney Pictures $305,413,918
12 The Sixth Sense 1999 Hollywood Pictures $293,506,292
13 Up 2009 Walt Disney Pictures $293,004,164
14 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005 Walt Disney Pictures $291,710,957
15 Monsters, Inc.* 2001 Walt Disney Pictures $289,916,256
16 Toy Story 2* 1999 Walt Disney Pictures $276,554,625
17 Monsters University 2013 Walt Disney Pictures $268,492,764
18 The Incredibles 2004 Walt Disney Pictures $261,441,092
19 Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014 Marvel Studios $259,766,572
20 Cars 2006 Walt Disney Pictures $244,082,982
21 Maleficent 2014 Walt Disney Pictures $241,410,378
22 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011 Walt Disney Pictures $241,071,802
23 Brave 2012 Walt Disney Pictures $237,283,207
24 Oz The Great and Powerful 2013 Walt Disney Pictures $234,911,825
25 Signs 2002 Touchstone Pictures $227,966,634
  • Includes theatrical reissue(s).


  1. ^ Toumarkine, Doris (21 June 2013). "Global recognition: Dave Hollis brings Disney brands to a world audience". Film Journal International. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Inc.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Fixmer, Fixmer (April 25, 2007). "Disney to Drop Buena Vista Brand Name, People Say (Update1)". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d "BUENA VISTA PICTURES DISTRIBTUTION, INC.". Entity Information. New York State Department of State. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e The Disney Studio Story, by Richard Holliss and Brian Sibley, 1988.
  6. ^ Screen World 1957, Volume 8, by Daniel Blum, 1957. Page 218.
  7. ^ International Motion Picture Almanac 1977, by Richard Gertner, 1977. Page 411.
  8. ^ Disney A to Z - The Official Encyclopedia, by Dave Smith, 1996. Page 71.
  9. ^ "August Issue News Section:Disney Will Distribute Japanese Animation". Animation World Magazine. August 1996. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "ABC, INC. Burbank, CA Wysk Company Profile". Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Verrier, Richard; Claudia Eller (September 29, 2003). "Disney Pushed Toward Digital". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Kay, Jeremy (23 July 2003). "DPS buys into Vanguard Animation, forms co-production giant". Screen Daily. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Disney's BVITV-AP brings 'Toon Disney' block to Vietnam". Indiantelevision.com. February 1, 2007. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "'The Avengers': $1 Billion In Global Box Office After Record Second Weekend". Huffington Post. May 13, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Iron Man 3 proves its box-office mettle after passing $1bn mark". The Guardian. May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Toy Story 3 reaches $1 billion dollars globally; The Pixar Blog". The Pixar Blog. August 27, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2010. 
  17. ^ ""Pirates" treasure mounts to billion worldwide". Reuters. July 2, 2011. 
  18. ^ "All Time Worldwide Box Office Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ "'Toy Story 3' Reaches $1 Billion". Box Office Mojo. August 29, 2010. Retrieved May 26, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Around-the-World Roundup: 'Avengers' Reaches $1 Billion Worldwide". Box Office Mojo. May 13, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  21. ^ "DOMESTIC GROSSES BY MPAA RATING". Retrieved November 11, 2009. 
  22. ^ "WALT DISNEY STUDIOS ANNOUNCES DOMESTIC, INTERNATIONAL, AND GLOBAL RECORD-SETTING YEAR OF $4.73 BILLION". BOXOFFICE Media. boxoffiec.com. January 2, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  23. ^ "About The Walt Disney Studios". The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ Miller, Daniel (19 September 2013). "Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer to end longtime partnership". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  25. ^ Graser, Marc (9 February 2009). "Disney signs deal with DreamWorks". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  26. ^ Kit, Borys (16 August 2012). "'The Muppets' Producer Mandeville Re-Ups With Disney (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  27. ^ Graser, Marc (6 November 2011). "Disney reups Mayhem Pictures deal". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Disney Sets Rob Marshall To Direct Adaptation Of ‘Into The Woods’". Deadline Hollywood. January 11, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  29. ^ Fernandez, Jay A.; Borys Kit; Pamela McClintock (October 27, 2011). "The State of the Studio Deals: Who's Doing What Where". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Disney Expands Ties With Stan Lee". ICV2.com. January 3, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  31. ^ Disney, Sony team up for Russian content, The Hollywood Reporter, December 27, 2006
  32. ^ "Disney, Sony team up for Russian content - Disney News". Wdwinfo.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 

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