Ticket sales for movies released by Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) Buena Vista studio reached a market share of over 31% of all ticket sales for 2018, which buried the competition. Even the release of “Ready Player One” by Time Warner Inc.’s (NYSE: TWX) Warner Bros. will barely dent that. Disney is having an unprecedented run.
Disney’s success over the period from January 1 to March 25 is not just based on the huge smash hit “Black Panther,” which has brought in domestic ticket sales of $631 million. Movies from 2017 that are still in theaters have made a substantial contribution. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has sold $103 million in tickets in 2018. It was released December 15 of last year. “Coco” has sold $30 million in tickets in 2018. It was released on November 22. Each is near the end of its box office shelf life.
Since it was released, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has had domestic ticket sales of $620 million, which makes it one of the most successful movies of all time. Total “Coco” domestic box office sales since release are $209 million.
Disney also has been helped by the 2018 release of one other very successful movie. “A Wrinkle in Time,” released on March 9, has had ticket sales of $74 million so far.
No other studio is likely to catch Disney this year. Sony Corp.’s (NYSE: SNE) Columbia has 14% of the ticket sales market this year, not even half of Buena Vista’s, and 20th Century Fox has 13%. Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Universal has just 9%, while Warner has less than 9%. “Ready Player One” will help the Warner Bros. total, but not enough to make a real dent in Disney’s position.
Disney also has two movies that will be released soon that could lengthen its lead. Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” is part of one of the most successful franchises of all time. “Mary Poppins Returns” is the sequel to the much beloved 1964 “Mary Poppins.” It stars Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep.
If the new films are as successful and many experts believe, Disney could even widen its market share lead among the country’s studios.