‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Pushes Disney to $5 Billion Worldwide in 2017 Box Office

“Thor: Ragnarok” has pushed Disney past the $5 billion mark at the 2017 worldwide box office for the third year in a row.

Disney said Thursday that it’s become the first and only studio to have reached this threshold for three consecutive years. The current totals are $1.76 billion domestically and $3.24 billion internationally.

Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” is expected to surpass $800 million globally on Thursday. Of the 17 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is the seventh to reach this milestone and the third to do so this year.

Disney also noted that it’s responsible for four of the top nine highest-grossing films of the year, including “Beauty and the Beast” with $1.26 billion ($504 million domestic and $759.7 million international); Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” with $863.6 million worldwide; and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with $794.8 million worldwide.

Other major titles include Pixar’s “Cars 3” ($383.5 million global) and “Coco” ($178.9 million global) as well as two 2016 titles — Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” with $309.3 million during 2017 and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” with $252 million during 2017.

Disney’s final release of 2017 is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is opening day-and-date in most of the world on Dec. 15. Early tracking has estimated that the ninth “Star Wars” movie will open at around $200 million domestically in its first weekend.

From Variety

 

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Disney Casts Chinese Actress Liu Yifei in Live-Action ‘Mulan’

Disney has enlisted a Chinese actress to star in the title role of its live-action version of “Mulan.”

Liu Yifei, who also goes by Crystal Liu, will play the legendary Chinese warrior in the 2019 epic, Walt Disney Studios announced Wednesday.

Niki Caro, who directed “Whale Rider,” “North Country” and Disney’s “McFarland, USA,” will helm the project, Disney said, and Jason Reed, Chris Bender and Jake Weiner will produce. “House of Flying Daggers” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” producer Bill Kong will be executive producer.

The upcoming film is inspired by the “Ballad of Mulan,” in which a young woman impersonates a man to take her father’s place in the army, and Disney’s 1998 musical adaptation of the poem, which grossed more than $120 million at the domestic box office and $304 million worldwide. Music from the animated film also earned an Academy Award nomination.

Well known in China as a model and singer, the 30-year-old Yifei has appeared in “The Forbidden Kingdom” with Jackie Chan and “Outcast” with Nicolas Cage. She also stars in this year’s Mandarin-language fantasy adventure movie “Once Upon a Time,” which is not to be confused with ABC’s fantasy series that also featured a Mulan character played by Jamie Chung.

The studio searched for a year to find the right Mulan and considered nearly 1,000 candidates for the role, the Associated Press reported.

While several studios have faced stark criticism for whitewashing their films, Yifei’s racially sensitive casting was lauded on Twitter, much like the studio’s casting of a Middle Eastern actor for the lead role in its live-action “Aladdin” earlier this year. Many also voiced support for the diverse, star-studded cast of Disney’s live-action “The Lion King” adaptation, announced earlier this month.

From the Los Angeles Times

Tokyo Disney Resort Set for Major Expansion

Oriental Land, which operates the Tokyo Disney Resort complex that includes the Disneyland and DisneySea theme parks, has revealed plans for a massive expansion. Completion is expected in 2023.

The company plans to invest nearly $2.7 billion to upgrade and expand facilities and attractions, while planning to double visitor numbers by 2020, the year of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. With the planned expansion the 100-hectare complex is expected to grow 30%.

Oriental Land operates Tokyo Disney Resort under license from Disney. Since its start in 1983 with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, the theme park, hotel and shopping complex in Chiba Prefecture, has grown to attract nearly 30 million visitors annually.

From Variety

Disneyland to Stream ‘Believe…in Holiday Magic’ via #DisneyParks LIVE

#DisneyParksLIVE is celebrating the holiday season at Disneyland this Thursday, November 30th, with a live stream of “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks spectacular!

The holidays have begun at the Disneyland Resort, and Holidays at the Disneyland Resort is in full swing, with returning favorites such as “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks, “A Christmas Fantasy” parade and Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle at Disneyland park; and Festival of Holidays, including Disney ¡Viva Navidad! and “World of Color – Winter Dreams” at Disney California Adventure park. There is even new festive holiday decor at Downtown Disney District and the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort.

Tune in for the live stream of “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks spectacular November 30th beginning at 8:40 p.m. PST, and find out how you can participate in the live stream yourself on the Disney Parks Blog and on Twitter at @DisneyParks!

From the Disney Parks Blog

Disney Vacation Club Announces Moonlight Magic Dates for 2018

Members will enjoy more Moonlight Magic event dates than ever in 2018, with parties already confirmed for every month from January through November, with more dates still to come! To help you plan accordingly, Disney Vacation Club is pleased to share confirmed party and booking dates.

The confirmed slate includes the first Moonlight Magic events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the highly anticipated Toy Story Land is scheduled to have made its playful debut by the time Members take over the park. Also confirmed is a return to Disney California AdventurePark, where Paradise Pier is scheduled to have become Pixar Pier – headlined by the highly anticipated transformation of California Screamin’ into The Incredibles-inspired Incredicoaster!

Introduced in 2017 as part of Membership Magic Ever After, complimentary Moonlight Magic events invite Disney Vacation ClubMembers and special guests to turn Disney Parks into their own personal playgrounds at the end of the parks’ operating days. While attendees may get a jump start on the fun by mixing in with the regular crowd earlier in the evening, the real magic happens after the park has closed to the public. It’s then that privileged partiers discover shorter-than-usual wait times on popular attractions, meet off-the-beaten-path Characters, enjoy complimentary refreshments, let loose at dance parties and more.

Here’s a look at the confirmed 2018 Moonlight Magic schedule, including the dates on which online reservations will open for each event:

  • Jan. 11 and 28, and Feb. 6 at Magic Kingdom Park
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates Dec 7. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on Dec 21.)
  • March 21, April 17 and May 16 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates Feb 8. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on Feb 22.)
  • May 30 and June 11 at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates April 19. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on May 3.)
  • July 16 and Aug. 13 at Epcot
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates June 6. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on June 20.)
  • Sept. 19 and 26, and Oct. 3 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates Aug 30. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on Sept. 13.)
  • Nov. 15 at Disney California Adventure Park
    (Booking begins for all Members on Oct. 4.)

Please note that, in order to allow as many Members as possible to enjoy Moonlight Magic, only one event date for each participating park will be available per Membership. Watch disneyvacationclub.com for additions to the Moonlight Magic event slate, as well as party hours and transportation information.

 

‘Coco’ Gobbles Up ‘Justice League’ With $71.2M Thanksgiving Box Office

Pixar’s Coco is the latest title from the Disney animated empire to win the annual box-office turkey trot, posting a hearty five-day debut of $71.2 million from 3,987 theaters to score the fourth-best Thanksgiving opening of all time behind Toy Story 2, Frozen and Moana. That includes $49 million for the three-day weekend.

The movie, about the popular Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), was buoyed by a coveted A+ CinemaScore and a strong turnout among Hispanic moviegoers, who made up 36 percent of all ticket-buyers, according to comScore’s PostTrak. Caucasians made up 43 percent of the audience.

Overseas — where Coco has already become the top-grossing film of all time in Mexico ($53.4 million to date) — the animated event film took in another $30.7 million from 22 markets for an early foreign tally of $82.2 million and $153.4 million globally. That includes a China launch of $18.2 million, where Coco soared an unprecedented 25 percent from Friday to Saturday.

In October 2014, Reel FX Studios’ The Book of Life, likewise an animated film about Day of the Dead, opened to a muted $17 million.

“Pixar not only focused on telling a good story, they focused on making the film as culturally relevant as possible. I think that’s one of the things that makes the film feel authentic for all audiences, and particularly Hispanic audiences, although this is a story that resonates with everyone,” says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. “And the Pixar pedigree does so much for any movie. In a world where there are so many distractions, quality cuts through.”

Between them, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar claim the top six five-day Thanksgiving openings of all time, not accounting for inflation. Frozen (2013) is the record holder with $93.6 million; last year’s Moana sang its way to $82.1 million; Tangled took in $68.7 million in 2010; and The Good Dinosaur gobbled up $55.5 million in 2015. When adjusting for inflation, Toy Story 2 (1999) supplants Frozen with nearly $141 million (unadjusted, Toy Story‘s five-day debut was $80.1 million). Disney also claims the No. 7 spot with Enchanted ($49.1 million).

Directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, Coco tells the story of 12-year-old Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), who sets out to become an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). The trouble is, his family has banned music for generations. Miguel suddenly finds himself in the magical Land of the Dead, where he teams up with the trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) in hopes of unlocking the secret behind his family history.

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s Justice League placed No. 2 in its sophomore outing, grossing $59.7 million from 4,051 theaters for the five-day holiday frame (Wednesday-Sunday) and $40.7 million for the three-day weekend, a 57 percent decline. The superhero mashup, whose domestic total through Sunday is $171.5 million, continues to trail well behind Thor: Rangarok.

Justice League is faring better overseas, where it won the weekend with $72.2 million from 66 markets to pass the $300 million mark and land at $481.3 million globally to date. Disney and Marvel’s Thor, meanwhile, raced past the $500 million threshold internationally for a global total of $790.1 million

Despite competition from Coco, director Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder continued to wow families. The  pic earned a strong $32 million from 3,172 theaters for the five days and $22.3 million for the three — a narrow 19 percent decline — bringing its 10-day domestic total to $69.4 million.

The $20 million film adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s acclaimed children’s novel tells the story of a young boy with a facial deformity who attends a mainstream school for the first time (the book spawned the “Choose Kind” movement). Lionsgate, Participant Media, Walden Media and Mandeville Films partnered on Wonder, which stars Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay and Owen Wilson.

Among the flurry of films vying for adult attention and awards love, Denzel Washington-starrer Roman J. Israel, Esq. got off to a slow start as it expanded nationwide on Wednesday. The legal thriller came in No. 9 with $6.2 million from 1,648 theaters for the five-day holiday frame, including $4.5 million for the weekend.

Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) directed Roman J. Israel, Esq., which centers on a lawyer whose idealism is put to the test when he joins a large Los Angeles law firm. Sony, which rejiggered the movie after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to tepid reviews, is counting on Roman Israel to argue its case throughout the year-end holidays and awards season.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Call Me by Your Name made headlines at the specialty box office after debuting Friday in four theaters in New York and L.A. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the critically acclaimed film earned $404,874 for a screen average of $101,219 — the best since La La Land in December 2016. Call Me by Your Name stars Armie Hammer as a young academic who embarks on a love affair with his professor’s 17-year-old son (Timothee Chalamet).

Focus Features’ Winston Churchill pic Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman, debuted Wednesday in four theaters in N.Y. and L.A. The film grossed $248,000 for a five-day screen average of $61,944.

Bleecker Street’s The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer, also opened Wednesday in 626 cinemas and grossed $1.8 million.

From the Hollywood Reporter

Encounter Black Panther at Disney California Adventure in 2018

Early next year, Super Hero fans will explore the isolated and technologically advanced kingdom of Wakanda when “Black Panther” opens in theaters February 16, 2018. And for a limited time, Disney California Adventure guests will have the opportunity to encounter the king of Wakanda himself, Black Panther.

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and Black Panther — is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

From the Disney Parks Blog

Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Strums $2.3 Million on Tuesday Night

Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” has opened with a solid $2.3 million on Tuesday night.

The animated pic is on par with Disney’s “Moana,” which earned $2.6 million from previews during the same frame last year. It went on to gross $82 million over five days.

The family film has been on track to take in $55 million to $60 million at 3,948 venues during the Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday to Sunday. Estimates indicate that the costly “Justice League,” which has pulled in a disappointing $111.9 million in its first five days, will come in No. 1 again with about $60 million to $65 million.

“Coco” opens in nearly 2,800 3D locations, 106 premium large format screens, and 268 theaters offering the film in Spanish. Unlike “Justice League,” critics have embraced “Coco” (its Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 95%).

“Coco” is already a smash in Mexico with $48.8 million — the biggest opening of all time in that market — following its Oct. 20 premiere at the Morelia Film Festival. The central character, voiced by Anthony Gonzalez, is Miguel, a 12-year-old who dreams of becoming a musician. He meets Hector (Gael García Bernal) and sets off to explore his family history in the Land of the Dead.

Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) directed and Adrian Molina (story artist on “Monsters University”) co-directed the film. Other members of the voice cast include Ana Ofelia Murguía, Jaime Camil, Sofía Espinosa, Luis Valdez, Lombardo Boyar, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Edward James Olmos, Alanna Ubach, Selene Luna, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Octavio Solis, Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, and Blanca Araceli.

Disney-Pixar does not provide estimates of the production costs but industry sources say that the price tag is usually in the $175 million to $200 million range.

The Thanksgiving holiday period is prime time for moviegoing, particularly for opening Disney family titles. Disney’s “Frozen” set the record in 2013 with $93 million during the five days, followed by last year’s “Moana” with $82 million, “Toy Story 2” with $80 million, and “Tangled” with $68 million.

Lionsgate’s family drama “Wonder” will also be a factor. The Jacob Tremblay vehicle opened far above expectations with $27 million on its debut weekend and took in $5.7 million on Tuesday, up 44% from Monday, for a five-day total of  $37.2 million.

From Variety

The Saga Continues with OtterBox: Star Wars-Themed Cases

The Force is strong with this one. Defend iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus from drops, dings and galactic threats with Star Wars-themed Symmetry Series cases.

From Star Wars: A New Hope to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, OtterBox has a protective case designed for every Star Warsfan. Cases are also compatible with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Star Wars has awakened a new generation of enthusiasts and Symmetry Series cases featuring Star Wars designs provide the perfect companions for wherever your epic journey takes you,” said OtterBox CEO Jim Parke. “Now fans can express their inner Jedi while defending their devices from real-world pitfalls.”

Symmetry Series protects every fan’s device from the dark side of phone ownership with a slim and sleek form. The dual-density case slips easily in pockets while a raised beveled edge keeps the touchscreen tucked away from harm during drops. Star Wars afficiandos can show off their favorite icons and characters with the new designs on Symmetry Series cases.

Symmetry Series Star Wars Collection cases are now available at otterbox.com for iPhone 8 and iPhone 7, $44.95; and iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus, $54.95. For more information, visit otterbox.com. OtterBox is the “Official Protective Case” of Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Lunar New Year Festival Returns to Disney California Adventure

Kick off the Year of the Dog with the return of the popular Lunar New Year festival at Disney California Adventure park!

From January 26 through February 18, this spectacular festival will feature live entertainment, delicious food and more. Take a look at the favorite experiences returning for this year’s celebration:

  • Hurry Home — Lunar New Year Celebration, a nighttime water show on Paradise Bay
  • Disney characters such as Mulan and her friend Mushu, along with Mickey Mouse and his pals, all dressed up for the occasion — including Goofy dressed as the God of Good Fortune
  • Specialty Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese foods at Paradise Garden Grill
  • Commemorative merchandise featuring designs inspired by the different cultures of East Asia
  • Lucky Wishing Wall, where you can add your own wish
  • The festive Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession, traditional crafts and more!


From the Disney Parks Blog