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)|
|Services||Film distribution and marketing|
|Parent||The Walt Disney Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
Established in 1953 as Buena Vista Distribution Company, the company handles distribution for films produced by the Walt Disney Studios; including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Disneynature and, since 2012, Marvel Studios, which is a part of Disney's subsidiary, Marvel Entertainment.
The division took on its current name in 2007, which before that been Buena Vista Pictures Distribution since 1987.
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. (BVD) 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 of 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, 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."
In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would distribute international Tokuma's Studio Ghibli animated films. In September 1996, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. was merged out.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is noteworthy for having six films that have surpassed the $1-billion-mark in worldwide ticket sales:
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006; $1,066,179,725)
- Alice in Wonderland (2010; $1,024,299,904)
- Toy Story 3 (2010; $1,063,171,911)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011; $1,043,871,802)
- The Avengers (2012; $1,511,757,910)
- Iron Man 3 (2013; $1,196,616,000)
Disney is the only major Hollywood studio that has released more than four films that have crossed the $1-billion-mark (in worldwide grosses). In addition, Disney was the first of only two studios to have released two $1-billion films in the same year (the other being Warner Bros.). 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 2012, Disney achieved its largest yearly box-office gross in North America.
The company distributes all features produced by The Walt Disney Studios, other Disney film units and some third-parties including:
Active producer/distribution deals
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International was formed in 1961 as Buena Vista International. 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 Entertainment
- Kazakhstan — United International Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. (former 20th Century Fox)
- Finland — Suomi-Filmi
- 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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