Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
|Type||Division of Walt Disney Studios|
|Founded||1953 (as Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||Burbank, California, U.S.|
|Key people||Robert A. Chapek (President)
Dave Hollis (Vice-president)
|Services||Film distribution and marketing|
|Parent||The Walt Disney Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Website||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
Established in 1953 as Buena Vista Distribution Company, the unit handles distribution and marketing for films produced by the Walt Disney Studios; including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Disneynature and, since 2012 and 2015, Marvel Studios—which is a part of Disney's Marvel Entertainment subsidiary—and Lucasfilm.
Prior to 1953, Walt Disney's productions were distributed by Columbia Pictures, United Artists and RKO Radio Pictures. However, a dispute over the value of Disney's True-Life Adventures series of live-action documentary featurettes 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. 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. Notable subsequent releases include the foreign film, Yang Kwei Fei (Most Noble Lady), released in US theaters in September 1956, The Missouri Traveler in March 1958, and The Big Fisherman in July 1959 (the first third-party production financed by Disney).
In April 1960, the company dropped "Film" from its name. In 1961, Disney incorporated Buena Vista International (BVI), distributing its first PG rated film, Take Down, in January 1979. In July 1987, Buena Vista changed its name to Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. (BVPD).
In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would distribute international Tokuma's Studio Ghibli animated films. In September 1996, following Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. was merged into ABC, Inc., the parent company of that group.
Buena Vista International agreed to a distribution deal with MegaStar Joint Venture Company Limited in April 2006 for the Vietnam market.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is noteworthy for having seven films that have surpassed the $1-billion-mark in worldwide ticket sales:
- Marvel's The Avengers (2012; $1,511,757,910)
- Iron Man 3 (2013; $1,210,035,000)
- Frozen (2013; $1,112,532,000)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006; $1,066,179,725)
- Toy Story 3 (2010; $1,063,171,911)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011; $1,045,713,802)
- Alice in Wonderland (2010; $1,025,467,110)
Disney has released the most films that have crossed the $1-billion-mark (in worldwide grosses) among major Hollywood studios. In addition, Disney is the first of only two studios that have released two $1-billion films in the same year (the other being Warner Bros.). 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. In 2013, Disney achieved its largest yearly box-office gross worldwide, as well as separately in North America and outside North America.
The company distributes all features produced by The Walt Disney Studios, other Disney film units and some third-party studios including:
|Currently distributed||Formerly distributed||Tertiary distribution deals|
|Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Animation Studios — DisneyToon Studios
Pixar Animation Studios
UTV Motion Pictures
|Hollywood Pictures (1990-2007; closed)
Miramax Films (1993–2010; sold)
Dimension Films (1993–2005; sold)
Caravan Pictures (1993-1999)
ImageMovers Digital (2009–2011; closed)
Jerry Bruckheimer Films (1993-2014)
|DreamWorks Studios (2011–present)
Mandeville Films (1996–present)
Mayhem Pictures (2002–present)
Studio Ghibli (North America; 1998–present)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International was formed in 1961 as Buena Vista International, Inc.. 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). Distribution rights in West Germany were given to MGM and later 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.
- Other international distributors
- UK/Ireland — Rank Film Distributors (1954-1987) and Warner Bros. (1987-1992)
- Turkey — United International Pictures
- Ukraine — United International Pictures and Sony Pictures Releasing
- Kazakhstan — United International Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing International and Warner Bros. (former 20th Century Fox)
- Finland — Suomi-Filmi
- France - Gaumont (1993-2004)
- Belgium/Netherlands/Benelux — United International Pictures
- Australia/New Zealand — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1959-1968), Greater Union Organization (1968-1987), CIC-Fox (1970s-1987), Village Roadshow (1988-1992)
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