Briefing

Disney made eight of the 10 top-grossing U.S. films of 2019

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Those eight movies have earned more than US$10 billion in global ticket sales. Tenth-place Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released just last week, and will likely climb higher over the last eight days of the year. The other seven films are Avengers: Endgame; The Lion King; Toy Story 4; Captain Marvel; Spider-Man: Far from Home; Frozen II; and Aladdin(The Verge)

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Talking point: The blockbuster haul shows how important intellectual property and nostalgia continue to be for entertainment companies. Five of Disney’s top films are adaptations or sequels of stories originally created by acquisitions Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar. Two more are live-action remakes of its own early-1990s animated productions. Just one comes directly from source material from this decade: the sequel to the 2013 hit Frozen, although that, too, is loosely based on a Hans Christian Andersen story. The success of the movies, and the continued cachet of their underlying IP, are crucial to Disney’s strategy for its streaming service, the launch catalog for which was heavy on spin-offs. Rivals are still catching up. In July 2018, Netflix announced film adaptations of three comics from Millarwold, a publisher it acquired in 2017, but has yet to release them. Analysts have predicted consumers are unlikely to cancel other subscriptions in favour of Apple TV Plus because it lacks a back catalogue of hit shows and movies to watch between its handful of originals.