The big D nails down top spot as the highest earning film studio for 2014. Disney has had a license to print money forever, and their films continue to be the backbone of their brand, as in ‘What Uncle Walt hath wrought, let no critic put asunder.’
Arriving in Hollywood in 1923, Roy and Walt Disney began the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios, and would attain international stardom with the 1928 release of Steamboat Willie, the first animated talkie introducing who else but Walt’s iconic symbol, Mickey Mouse. It was a smash hit and established the brothers, who had by now shortened the company name to The Walt Disney Studio, as up-and-coming players. A seemingly endless series of famous classics followed; Flowers and Trees, Three Little Pigs, Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Treasure Island, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmations, Mary Poppins. The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles.
By the mid 1960s, Walt was envisioning an expansive new project in Florida to be called DisneyWorld that would outdo his successful California Disneyland theme park opened in 1955. Sadly, Walt died in 1966 and Roy in 1971, but their empire survived them in a big way. The Walt Disney Studios owns Touchstone, Pixar, Marvel and The Walt Disney Motion Pictures and Animation Studios, which is pretty much like owning Fort Knox. These sub-studios of the company have recently produced the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy to help pull in over $1.78 billion for the Disney Mint this year.
But hey, you don’t get an industry rep like ‘Don’t f*ck with the Mouse,’ by signing a lot of cheques.