Walt Disney Pictures

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Walt Disney Pictures
FormerlyWalt Disney Productions
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryFilm
FoundedOctober 16, 1923; 98 years ago (1923-10-16) (as Walt Disney Productions)
April 1, 1983; 38 years ago (1983-04-01) (as Walt Disney Pictures)
Headquarters500 South Buena Vista Street, ,
United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
ProductsMotion pictures
ParentWalt Disney Studios
Websitemovies.disney.com
Footnotes / references
[2]

Walt Disney Pictures[3] is an American film production studio and subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company. The studio is the flagship producer of live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Studios unit, and is based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios are also released under the studio banner. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributes and markets the films produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

Disney began producing live-action films in the 1950s, under the company's all-encompassing name, Walt Disney Productions. The live-action division took on its current incorporated name of Walt Disney Pictures in 1983, when Disney reorganized its entire studio division; which included the separation from the feature animation division and the subsequent creation of Touchstone Pictures; a sister division responsible for producing mature films not suitable for release through Walt Disney Pictures. At the end of that decade, combined with Touchstone's output, Walt Disney Pictures elevated Walt Disney Studios as one of Hollywood's major film studios.

Walt Disney Pictures is currently one of five live-action film studios within the Walt Disney Studios, the others being 20th Century Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and Searchlight Pictures. The 2019 remake of The Lion King is the studio's highest-grossing film worldwide with $1.6 billion,[4] and Pirates of the Caribbean is the studio's most successful film series, with five films earning a total of over $4.5 billion in worldwide box office gross.[2]

History[edit]

Predecessor unit[edit]

The studio's predecessor (and the modern-day The Walt Disney Company's as a whole) was founded as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, by filmmaker Walt Disney and his business partner and brother, Roy, in 1923.

The creation of Mickey Mouse and subsequent short films and merchandise generated revenue for the studio which was renamed as The Walt Disney Studio at the Hyperion Studio in 1926.[5] In 1929, it was renamed again to Walt Disney Productions. The studio's streak of success continued in the 1930s, culminating with the 1937 release of the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which becomes a huge financial success.[6] With the profits from Snow White, Walt relocated to a third studio in Burbank, California.[7]

In the 1940s, Disney began experimenting with full-length live-action films, with the introduction of hybrid live action-animated films such as The Reluctant Dragon (1941) and Song of the South (1946).[8] That same decade, the studio began producing nature documentaries with the release of Seal Island (1948), the first of the True-Life Adventures series and a subsequent Academy Award winner for Best Live-Action Short Film.[9][10]

Walt Disney Productions had its first fully live-action film in 1950 with the release of Treasure Island, considered by Disney to be the official conception for what would eventually evolve into the modern-day Walt Disney Pictures.[11] By 1953, the company ended their agreements with such third-party distributors as RKO Radio Pictures and United Artists and formed their own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution.[12]

1980s–2000s[edit]

The live-action division of Walt Disney Productions was incorporated as Walt Disney Pictures on April 1, 1983, to diversify film subjects and expand audiences for their film releases.[13] In April 1983, Richard Berger was hired by Disney CEO Ron W. Miller as film president. Touchstone Films was started by Miller in February 1984 as a label for the studio's PG-13 and R-rated films with an expected half of Disney's yearly 6-to-8-movie slate, which would be released under the label.[14] That same year, newly named Disney CEO Michael Eisner pushed out Berger, replacing him with Eisner's own film chief from Paramount Pictures, Jeffrey Katzenberg.[15] Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures were formed within that unit on February 15, 1984, and February 1, 1989, respectively.[16]

Original logo from 1985 to 2006

The Touchstone Films banner was used by then new Disney CEO Michael Eisner in the 1984–1985 television season with the short lived western, Wildside. In the next season, Touchstone produced a hit in The Golden Girls.[17]

David Hoberman was promoted to president of production at Walt Disney Pictures in April 1988.[18] In April 1994, Hoberman was promoted to president of motion picture production at Walt Disney Studios and David Vogel was appointed as Walt Disney Pictures president.[19] The following year, however Hoberman resigned from the company, and instead began a production deal with Disney and his newly formed production company, Mandeville Films.[19] In addition to Walt Disney Pictures, Vogel added the head position of Hollywood Pictures in 1997, while Donald De Line remained as head of Touchstone.[20] Vogel was then promoted in 1998 to the head of Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, the newly formed division that oversaw all live-action production within the Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, and Hollywood labels.[21][22] The move was orchestrated by Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth, as an effort to scale back and consolidate the studio's film production.[22] As a result of the restructuring, De Line resigned.[23]

That same year, Nina Jacobson became executive vice-president of live-action production for Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group.[24] Jacobson remained under this title until May 1999, when Vogel resigned from the company, and Jacobson was appointed by Roth to the role of president of production.[25][22] During her tenure, Jacobson oversaw the production of films at Walt Disney Pictures, including Pirates of the Caribbean, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia, National Treasure, Remember the Titans, and The Princess Diaries, and was responsible for establishing a first-look deal with Jerry Bruckheimer Films.[26][27] In 2006, Jacobson was fired by studio chairman Dick Cook, and replaced with by Oren Aviv, the head of marketing.[26][28]

After two films based on Disney theme park attractions,[29][30][31] Walt Disney Pictures selected it as a source of a line of films starting with The Country Bears (2002) and The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (both 2003).[32] The latter film—the first film produced by the studio to receive a PG-13 rating—began a film series that was followed by four sequels, with the franchise taking in more than $5.4 billion worldwide from 2003 to 2017.[29][33] On January 12, 2010, Aviv stepped down as the studio's president of live-action production.[34]

2010s–present[edit]

In January 2010, Sean Bailey was appointed the studio's president of live-action production, replacing Aviv.[35][2] Bailey had produced Tron: Legacy for the studio, which was released later that same year.[35] Under Bailey's leadership and with support from then Disney CEO Bob Iger—and later studio chairman Alan Horn—Walt Disney Pictures pursued a tentpole film strategy, which included an expanded slate of original and adaptive large-budget tentpole films. Beginning in 2011, the studio simplified the branding in its production logo and marquee credits to just "Disney".[36] Concurrently, Disney was struggling with PG-13 tentpole films outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, with films such as John Carter (2012) and The Lone Ranger (2013) becoming major box office bombs. However, the studio had found particular success with live-action fantasy adaptations of properties associated with their animated films, which began with the commercial success of Alice in Wonderland (2010), that became the second billion-dollar-grossing film in the studio's history.[37] With the continued success of Maleficent (2014) and Cinderella (2015), the studio saw the potential in these fantasy adaptations and officiated a trend of similar films, which followed with The Jungle Book (2016) and Beauty and the Beast (2017).[38][2] By July 2016, Disney had announced development of nearly eighteen of these films consisting of sequels to existing adaptations, origin stories and prequels.[38][39] Although Walt Disney Pictures produced several successful smaller-budgeted genre films throughout the 2010s, such as The Muppets (2011), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and Into the Woods (2014), the studio shifted its production model entirely on tentpole films as they had found that a majority of the smaller genre films were becoming financially unsustainable in the theatrical market.[2][40][41]

In 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced it was creating its own streaming service platform.[42] The new service, known as Disney+, would feature original programming created by the company's vast array of film and television production studios, including Walt Disney Pictures.[43] As part of this new distribution platform, Bailey and Horn confirmed that Walt Disney Pictures would renew development on smaller-budgeted genre films that the studio had previously stopped producing for the theatrical exhibition market a few years prior.[44][45][41] In 2018, nine films were announced to be in production or development for the service.[46] These films would be budgeted between $20 million and $60 million.[44] The studio is expected to produce approximately 3-4 films per year exclusively for Disney+, alongside its theatrical tentpole slate.[45] Disney+ was launched on November 12, 2019, in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands, with subsequent international expansions.[43] Within the first two months of the service's launch, Walt Disney Pictures had released three films (Lady and the Tramp, Noelle, and Togo) exclusively for Disney+.[41]

On March 12, 2020, Fox Family president Vanessa Morrison was named president of live-action development and production of streaming content for both Disney Live Action and 20th Century Studios, reporting directly to Bailey. That same day, Philip Steuer and Randi Hiller were also appointed as president of the studio's physical, post production and VFX, and executive vice president for casting, respectively–overseeing these functions for both Walt Disney Pictures and 20th Century Studios.[1]

[edit]

Film library[edit]

The studio's first live-action film was Treasure Island (1950). Animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar are also released by Walt Disney Pictures. The studio has released four films that have received an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination: Mary Poppins (1964), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009), and Toy Story 3 (2010).[47]

PG-13-rated films[edit]

Although Walt Disney Pictures maintains a family-friendly image, generally releasing G and PG-rated films, it does occasionally release films rated PG-13, something Touchstone Pictures was capable of doing until its closure in 2016. The first PG-13 rated film released by Walt Disney Pictures was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Additionally, Tales from Earthsea, a Studio Ghibli film, is the first and so far only animated film released by Walt Disney Pictures to receive the rating.[48] Hamilton is notable for being the first Walt Disney Pictures film to use the expletive "fuck", although two instances of it were censored to avoid an R rating.[49] The 2020 live-action remake of Mulan was the first live-action Disney remake to receive a PG-13 rating, with Cruella later following suit.

Films released by Walt Disney Pictures with a PG-13 rating include:

Film series and franchises[edit]

Titles Release dates Notes
Mickey Mouse & Friends 1928–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disneytoon Studios, and Disney Television Animation
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios
Fantasia 1940–2018 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Jerry Bruckheimer Films (The Sorcerer's Apprentice only), Saturn Films (The Sorcerer's Apprentice only), Broken Road Productions (The Sorcerer's Apprentice only), and The Mark Gordon Company (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms only)
Dumbo 1941–2019 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1941 film only), Tim Burton Productions (2019 film only), Infinite Detective Productions (2019 film only), and Secret Machine Entertainment (2019 film only)
Bambi 1942-2006; TBA co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only) and Disneytoon Studios (second film only)
Saludos Amigos 1943–2018 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios
Make Mine Music 1946-1954
Cinderella 1950–2015 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1950 film only), Disney Television Animation (Dreams Come True only), Disneytoon Studios (animated sequels only), Kinberg Genre (2015 film only), Allison Shearmur Productions (2015 film only), and Beagle Pug Films (2015 film only)
Alice in Wonderland 1951–2016 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1951 film only), Roth Films (live-action films only), Team Todd (live-action films only), The Zanuck Company (2010 film only), and Tim Burton Productions (Alice Through the Looking Glass only)
Peter Pan 1953-present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (Peter Pan only), Disneytoon Studios (Return to Never Land only), A. Film Production (Return to Never Land only), Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Peter Pan and Wendy only), and Whitaker Entertainment (Peter Pan and Wendy only)
Davy Crockett 1955-1956
Lady and the Tramp 1955-2001; 2019 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1955 film only), Disneytoon Studios (Scamp's Adventure only), and Taylor Made (2019 film only)
Old Yeller 1957-1963
Sleeping Beauty
Maleficent
1959–present
2014-present (Maleficent)
co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (Sleeping Beauty only) and Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent films only)
The Shaggy Dog 1959-1976; 2006 co-production with Mandeville Films (2006 film only), Tollin/Robbins Productions (2006 film only), Boxing Cat Films (2006 film only), Robert Simonds Productions (2006 film only), and Shaggy Dog Productions (2006 film only)
101 Dalmatians 1961-present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1961 film only only), Great Oaks Entertainment (1996 film only), Disneytoon Studios (Patch's London Adventure only), Gunn Films (Cruella only), and Marc Platt Productions (Cruella only)
The Absent-Minded Professor 1961-1997 co-production with Great Oaks Entertainment (Flubber only)
The Parent Trap 1961-1998; TBA
The Incredible Journey 1963-1996
Mary Poppins 1964-2018 co-production with Lucamar Productions (Mary Poppins Returns only) and Marc Platt Productions (Mary Poppins Returns only)
Winnie the Pooh 1966–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Winnie the Pooh only), Disneytoon Studios (The Tigger Movie, Piglet's Big Movie, and Pooh's Heffalump Movie only), and 2DUX² (Christopher Robin only)
The Jungle Book 1967–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1967 film only), Baloo Productions (1994 film only), Jungle Book Films (1994 film only), Disneytoon Studios (The Jungle Book 2 only), and Fairview Entertainment (2016 film only)
Herbie 1968-1980; 1997; 2005 co-production with Robert Simonds Productions (Fully Loaded only)
Dexter Riley 1969-1975
Witch Mountain 1975-1982; 1995; 2009; TBA co-production with Gunn Films (Race to Witch Mountain only)
The Apple Dumpling Gang 1975-1982
Freaky Friday 1976-2018 co-production with Gunn Films (2003 film only)
The Rescuers 1977-1990 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Silver Screen Partners (Down Under only)
The Fox and the Hound 1981-2006 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only) and Disneytoon Studios (second film only)
Tron 1982-present co-production with Lisberger/Kushner Productions (first film only) and Sean Bailey Productions (Tron: Legacy only)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 1989-present co-production with Silver Screen Partners (first film only), Touchwood Pacific Partners (Honey, I Blew Up the Kid only), and Mandeville Films (Shrunk only)
The Little Mermaid co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1989 film only), Disneytoon Studios (animated sequels only), Lucamar Productions (2023 film only), Marc Platt Productions (2023 film only), and 5000 Broadway Productions (2023 film only)
White Fang 1991-1994 co-production with Silver Screen Partners (first film only) and Hybrid Productions, Inc. (first film only)
Beauty and the Beast 1991–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1991 film only), Silver Screen Partners (1991 film only), Disney Television Animation (animated sequels only), and Mandeville Films (2017 film only)
The Mighty Ducks 1992-present co-production with Avnet-Kerner Productions and Touchwood Pacific Partners (first film only)
Aladdin co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1992 film only), Disney Television Animation (sequels only), and Rideback (2019 film only)
Hocus Pocus 1993-present co-production with David Kirschner Productions
The Lion King 1994–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1994 film only), Disney Television Animation (Simba's Pride only), Disneytoon Studios (The Lion King 1½ only), and Fairview Entertainment (live-action films only)
The Santa Clause 1994-2006 co-production with Hollywood Pictures (first film only), Outlaw Productions, and Boxing Cat films (sequels)
Pocahontas 1995-1998 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only) and Disney Television Animation (Journey to a New World only)
Toy Story 1995–present co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996-2002; TBA co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only), Disney Television Animation (second film only), and Mandeville Films (live-action remake)
Hercules 1997–1999; TBA co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios
Mulan 1998–2020; TBA co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (1998 film only), Disneytoon Studios (second film only), Jason T. Reed Productions (2020 film only), and Good Fear Productions (2020 film only)
Tarzan 1999–2005 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only), Disney Television Animation (Tarzan & Jane only), and Disneytoon Studios (second film only)
Inspector Gadget 1999-2003; TBA co-production with Caravan Pictures (first film only), DIC Entertainment (first film only), Avnet-Kerner Productions (first film only), Roger Birnbaum Productions (first film only), and The Kerner Entertainment Company (second film only)
The Emperor's New Groove 2000–2008 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only) and Disneytoon Studios (Kronk's New Groove only)
Atlantis 2001-2003; TBA co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (The Lost Empire only), Disneytoon Studios (Milo's Return only), and Disney Television Animation (Milo's Return only)
The Princess Diaries 2001-2004; TBA co-production with BrownHouse Productions (first film only), Shondaland (Royal Engagement only), and Martin Chase Productions (Royal Engagement only)
Monsters, Inc. 2001–present co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
Lilo & Stitch 2002–present co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only), Disney Television Animation (Stitch! The Movie and Leroy and Stitch only), Disneytoon Studios (Stitch Has a Glitch only), and Rideback (live-action film)
Finding Nemo 2003–present co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
Pirates of the Caribbean co-production with Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Brother Bear 2003-2006 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios (first film only) and Disneytoon Studios (second film only)
Home on the Range 2004 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Incredibles 2004–present co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
National Treasure co-production with Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Junction Entertainment and Saturn Films
The Chronicles of Narnia 2005-2008 co-production with Walden Media
Cars
Planes
2006–present
2013-2014 (Planes)
co-production with Pixar Animation Studios and Disneytoon Studios (Planes films only)
Enchanted 2007-present co-production with Right Coast Productions, Josephson Entertainment and Andalasia Productions
Tinker Bell 2008-2015 co-production with Disneytoon Studios
Bolt 2008-2009 co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios
Up 2009–present co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
The Princess and the Frog co-production with Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tangled 2010–2020
Wreck-It Ralph 2012–2018; TBA
Frozen 2013–present
Big Hero 6 2014–present
Zootopia 2016-present
Moana
The Last Warrior 2017-present co-production with Yellow, Black & White
Stargirl 2020-present co-production with Gotham Group and Hahnscape Entertainment
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2021-present co-production with 20th Century Animation and Bardel Entertainment; original live-action films produced by 20th Century Studios

Highest-grossing films[edit]

Walt Disney Pictures has produced five live-action films that have grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Aladdin (2019);[2][50] and has released eight animated films that have reached that milestone: Toy Story 3 (2010), Frozen (2013), Zootopia, Finding Dory (both 2016), Incredibles 2 (2018), The Lion King, Toy Story 4, and Frozen II (three in 2019).

Highest-grossing films in North America[51]
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Incredibles 2 2018 $608,581,744
2 The Lion King 2019 $543,638,043
3 Beauty and the Beast 2017 $504,014,165
4 Finding Dory 2016 $486,131,416
5 Frozen II 2019 $477,373,578
6 Toy Story 3 2010 $434,038,008
7 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006 $423,315,812
8 The Lion King 1994 $422,783,777
9 Toy Story 4 2019 $415,004,880
10 Frozen 2013 $400,738,009
11 Finding Nemo 2003 $380,843,261
12 The Jungle Book 2016 $364,001,123
13 Aladdin 2019 $356,258,912
14 Inside Out 2015 $356,002,827
15 Zootopia 2016 $342,268,248
16 Alice in Wonderland 2010 $334,191,110
17 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2007 $309,420,425
18 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 $305,413,918
19 Up 2009 $293,004,164
20 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005 $291,710,957
21 Monsters, Inc. 2001 $289,916,256
22 Toy Story 2 1999 $276,554,625
23 Monsters University 2013 $268,492,764
24 The Incredibles 2004 $261,441,092
25 Moana 2016 $248,757,044
Highest-grossing films worldwide
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 The Lion King 2019 $1,657,598,092
2 Frozen II $1,450,026,933
3 Frozen 2013 $1,280,802,282
4 Beauty and the Beast 2017 $1,264,521,126
5 Incredibles 2 2018 $1,243,805,359
6 Toy Story 4 2019 $1,073,394,593
7 Toy Story 3 2010 $1,067,171,911
8 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006 $1,066,179,725
9 Aladdin 2019 $1,051,693,953
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011 $1,045,713,802
11 Finding Dory 2016 $1,029,473,532
12 Alice in Wonderland 2010 $1,025,467,110
13 Zootopia 2016 $1,024,641,447
14 The Lion King 1994 $968,554,386
15 The Jungle Book 2016 $966,550,600
16 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2007 $963,420,425
17 Finding Nemo 2003 $940,335,536
18 Inside Out 2015 $857,675,046
19 Coco 2017 $807,139,032
20 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $794,826,541
21 Maleficent 2014 $758,410,378
22 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005 $745,013,115
23 Monsters University 2013 $744,229,437
24 Up 2009 $735,099,082
25 Big Hero 6 2014 $657,827,828

—Includes theatrical reissue(s).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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