Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
|Division of Walt Disney Studios|
|Founded||1953 (as Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||500 S. Buena Vista Street,
Burbank, California, United States
|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, 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, UTV Motion Pictures, Disneynature and Touchstone Pictures.
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 internationally 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 released eight films that have surpassed the $1-billion-mark in worldwide box office sales:
- Marvel's The Avengers (2012; $1,519,557,910)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015; $1,401,213,387)
- Frozen (2013; $1,279,852,693)
- Iron Man 3 (2013; $1,215,439,994)
- 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, with eight of the twenty highest-grossing films of all time being distributed by Disney. In addition, Disney is the first of only three studios that have released a pair of billion-dollar films in the same year (the others being Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures). Furthermore, Disney is the only studio that has achieved this twice, in 2010 and 2013. Three of the top five 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.
In its 62-year history, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures has distributed 26 films that have received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture; Disney (4), Touchstone (5), Hollywood (2), and Miramax (15). Of those nominations, four Miramax films won the accolade; The English Patient (1996), Shakespeare In Love (1998), Chicago (2002), and No Country for Old Men (2007).
The company distributes all feature films 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 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). 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. In Japan, distribution rights are handled in partnership with Toho.
- Other international distributors
- UK/Ireland — Rank Film Distributors (1954-1986) and Warner Bros. (1987-1992)
- Turkey — Warner Bros. (-1994), United International Pictures (1994-current)
- Ukraine — United International Pictures, and Sony Pictures Releasing (2007-current)
- Kazakhstan — United International Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Releasing International (1997-current)
- Finland — Suomi-Filmi
- France - Gaumont (1993-2004)
- Belgium/Netherlands/Benelux — Warner Bros (1987-1992), United International Pictures (1993-current)
- Australia/New Zealand — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1959-1968; through in 1973-86), Greater Union Organization (1968-1972), CIC-Fox (1973-1981), United International Pictures (under UIP-Fox) (1982-1986), Village Roadshow (1987-1992)
- Italy — Cinema International Corporation (1974-1981), United International Pictures (1982-1987), Warner Bros. (1987-1991) and Columbia TriStar Italia (Sony Pictures Releasing) (1992-1995)
(*)—Includes theatrical reissue(s).
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