Three days ago, Disney Animation Studio’s 52nd feature, Wreck-It Ralph, debuted in theaters at the top of the domestic box office, earning $49 million domestically and a total of $61 million worldwide. The film was released only four weeks after Disney’s last animated feature, the stop-motion Frankenweenie from director Tim Burton.
Promotional image for Disney Animation Studio's Wreck-It-Ralph, image copyright Disney
Even since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) defied expectations with its wildly successful theatrical debut, critics have predicted the demise of Disney animated films. Walt Disney Animation Studios has suffered setbacks several times over its 80 year history, from suspended animation during World War II, to the studio’s decline in quality and popularity in the 1970s, to the massive layoff of animation staff in 2000.
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In the fall of 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion dollars, transferring control of Marvel’s comic book and movie library to Disney, along with a library of 5,000 characters, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Daredevil, and Captain America.
Logos from Various Marvel Superhero Franchises
This summer, Disney released the blockbuster megahit, Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), which grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide, and the studio has several more Marvel films in production, including Iron Man 3 (2013), sequels to Thor (2013), Captain America (2014), and The Avengers (2015), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), a film starring that OTHER team of Marvel superheros: Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Gamora. Never heard of them? Me either!
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