Come 2015, Disneyland will be celebrating its 60th anniversary.
To commemorate the occasion, the Mouse House will be expanding its
theme park empire, with the opening of a new and massive Shanghai
Disneyland and the addition of a $500-million Avatar-themed section
to Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom.
But while the theme parks will surely draw in huge crowds, it's
The Walt Disney Company
) film division that is poised to bring home the bacon for the
Burbank, California-based conglomerate in 2015.
was a massive hit, and its sequel will clean up at the box office,
Disney's 2015 film release schedule is packed with surefire box
office hits on an unprecedented level.
There's of course the annual feature from Disney's Pixar animation
division. Pixar will release its sixteenth feature,
, in June 2015. Though few details have been released thus far,
to be a hit - consider, after all, that the average domestic gross
of Pixar films in the last 10 years is an impressive $268 million.
With continuing ticket price inflation and 3D premiums,
should be good for a domestic take of $250 million.
But while there's still an element of risk that an original film
might bomb, Disney's franchise properties are all but guaranteed to
be record-setting hits.
Under the guidance of CEO Robert Iger, Disney successfully acquired
Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm, and Iger will reap the benefits
of what he sowed with new
sequels slated to open in 2015.
Likely to be the global box office champion of 2015 is Marvel's
The Avengers 2
, the follow-up to 2012's
, which shocked industry experts and earned an eye-popping $623
million domestically and a total of $1.5 billion worldwide.
While it'll be incredibly hard to replicate the kind of
lightning-in-a-bottle success of
, the sequel should be good for at least $450 million domestically
-- and it has an outside chance of joining
as the only movies to cross $2 billion worldwide.
Most movie studios would be lucky to have one $400 million grosser
in a year, but such is the strength of Disney's 2015 slate that it
will have two; likely to open mere weeks after
The Avengers 2
Star Wars: Episode 7
Fans of the series might still be suffering from watching the
prequels, but there's little doubt that they will still turn up for
the new movie. The fact that director J.J. Abrams, who
franchise previously, is taking over the helm from George Lucas
bodes well for the quality of the movie, too.
, the sequel to
, which will come out at Thanksgiving.
is arguably the most beloved of all of Pixar's animated films
(which is saying a lot), so Disney can expect a domestic gross
north of $300 million for its sequel.
Finally, Disney also plans to release the fifth film in its
Pirates of the Caribbean
franchise in July 2015. While this Johnny Depp-driven franchise has
lost some of its luster, the movie should still comfortably cross
$200 million in North America and perform robustly internationally,
where the brand remains strong.
These five blockbusters, along with big-budget projects from other
movie studios like
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc's
The Penguins of Madagascar
movie, should help propel the domestic box office past its current
annual record of $10.7 billion, set in 2012. That can only be good
news for cinema stocks
Regal Entertainment Group
Cinemark Holdings, Inc.
As for Disney, though the stock has eased off from recent all-time
highs thanks to worries about competition for ESPN from
(NWSA) Fox Sports 1, it still has great potential going forward.
"Disney is probably the highest-quality media giant based on its
cable-business mix and the irreproducible nature of its character
set," wrote Michael Santoli of
Sure, Disney's movie division represented only 14% of the media
giant's revenue in 2012, but the proportion is bound to rise in
2015. Additionally, Disney's other divisions, like Parks and
Resorts, Consumer Products, and Media Networks, are bound to reap
ancillary revenue from cross-marketing the
When CEO Robert Iger signed his last contract extension in 2011, he
noted that his goal was to increase long-term value for
"[I] am confident we will continue to do so through the successful
execution of our core strategic priorities: the creation of high
quality, branded content and experiences, the use of technology,
and creating growth in numerous and exciting international
markets," he said then, according to
Given the likely future success of Disney's movie division (a
movie, for example, is scheduled for release annually starting
2015) and the continued expansion of its parks business, it's safe
to say Iger has succeeded in what he set out to do. He should be
able to leave Disney with his head held high when his contract
expires in 2015, when
et al. will lead Disney's domination of the box office.