Thanks to an incredible string of successes, Disney has become the domestic box office champion for the second year in a row. Including the juggernaut performances of Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Disney will end 2017 having earned over $2.27 billion.
Variety is reporting today that Disney's biggest competition (and holder of the no. 2 spot) is Warner Brothers, another repeat of last year. WB will end the year above $2.02 billion, and though it did get to the $2 billion mark before Disney did, that was on December 10th-- a few days before The Last Jedi was released.
Though Beauty and the Beast (still the top domestic grosser of 2017 with $504 million) and The Last Jedi definitely helped to assure Disney's dominance, strong performances from Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Cars 3 certainly lent a hand. WB's haul was pulled forward significantly by Wonder Woman and It, but was ultimately stunted by an underperforming Justice League.
What's most interesting here is that Disney managed to attain the top spot with far fewer releases. While WB released 31 titles, Disney only put out 12. They bet big on those 12, but when they are made up of almost surefire box office franchise gold like Star Wars, the MCU, Pixar, and their own animation-to-live action remakes, the bet is likely pretty safe.
Coming in at third place is Universal (with $1.49 billion domestically) which owes it's success to Despicable Me 3, The Fate of the Furious, and the surprise over performance of Get Out. Fox took spot number 4, led by the triumphant final bow of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine in Logan. Sony came in fifth, with its top earner being Spider-Man: Homecoming — a film that was set in the MCU, and has Disney's marks all over it.
As far as 2018 is concerned, things are looking good for Disney. They've got another Star Wars spin-off coming (Solo: A Star Wars Story), more MCU entries (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War) more Pixar (The Incredibles 2) and they're also behind Ava DuVernay's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Though Disney will not likely see any profits from their $52.4 billion dollar acquisition of Fox in 2018, the wheels are surely already in motion. With the X-Men and countless other proven contenders added to their stable, this could potentially be just the beginning of the Disney dynasty's box office reign. In a few years it may not be a matter of whether Disney takes the top spot or not-- it will only be a matter of by how much.