With only a week to go, it is almost certain that Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) studio operation will rank No.1 this years in terms of domestic box office sales, and will likely have a market share, by that measure, above 22%, which will put it ahead of the other big four studios.
Disney’s numbers are based on box office figures from its Buena Vista movie operation. Its market share for the year as of last week was 20.2% based on annual sales of $2.1 billion. The Warner Bros. division of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) was second at 19.6%, followed by Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) at 14.2%, Twenty-First st Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) at 12% and Sony Corp.’s (NYSE: SNE) Columbia at 8.5%.
Disney’s advantage as the year closes is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” It posted sales of over $220 million its first weekend. It is expected to do another $70 million this weekend. Added to the days between the two weekends, and its box office to date will surge above $300 million.
At $300 million, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be the fourth largest movies based on sales this year. The movie has a small chance to break into third place by midnight on December 31. That place is held by another Disney movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which has a 2017 domestic box office total of $389 million.
Disney will buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox next year at a price of $52 billion. Taken together, the two studios owned by Disney once the deal closes could have a market share of domestic box office as high at a third of the U.S. total. In the meantime, even without Fox, Disney holds a lead which will make it the winner for 2017.