Years ago Disney Pictures shifted its strategy for releases – cutting back to a much smaller slate than the other studios, but turning each release into an event.
Along with a combination of acquiring Lucasfilm and Marvel, integrating Pixar, revitalising their Walt Disney Animation department, and developing live-action adaptations of their animated classics, it has resulted in them becoming a studio superpower with no equal at the moment.
Today they’ve firmed up and announced their 2017 film slate, one which currently consists of just eight films – five sequels, one documentary, one adaptation and one original work. Here’s the list of Disney releases for 2017:
“Beauty and the Beast” (March 17th)
“Disneynature’s Born in China” (April 21st)
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (May 5th)
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (May 26th)
“Cars 3” (June 16th)
“Thor: Ragnarok” (November 3rd)
“Coco” (November 22nd)
“Star Wars: Episode VIII” (December 15th)
Of the eight, two are Marvel, two from Pixar, one from Lucasfilm, one from Disneynature and the other two from the main studio itself. The total of eight is down from the thirteen films they had in 2016 and eleven in 2015.
The studio is consistent with its films – a live-action fairytale adaptation and a Disneynature doco in the Spring, Marvel and live-action Disney sequels in May, an animated sequel in June, a Marvel film and an animated film in November, and a “Star Wars” film in December.
What’s notably missing are the smaller films with 2017 being the first year they’ve effectively gone ‘tentpoles only’. Disney had several family and adult-targeted dramas last year such as “The Finest Hours,” “Queen of Katwe” and “Pete’s Dragon” along with leftovers from the now defunct Dreamworks deal such as “The BFG” and “The Light Between Oceans”.
July 28th and December 22nd had previously been marked out for untitled live-action Disney fairytale films, but there’s no sign of them on the schedule and no hint of one being ready for those dates at present. The late December one could still be taken up at a later time though with “Episode VIII” the week before – the studio won’t really need to.