Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (formerly known as Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. until 2007) is an American film distribution studio within the
Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED) is one of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the att ...
division of
the Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It ...
. It handles theatrical and occasional digital distribution, marketing and promotion for films produced and released by the
Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios may refer to: * Walt Disney Studio (1926–1929) the second name of The Walt Disney Company * Walt Disney Studios (division), the Walt Disney Company's Studio Entertainment unit, which includes Disney's motion picture studios, mus ...
, including
Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Pictures is an American film production studio and subsidiary of Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios may refer to: * Walt Disney Studio (1926–1929) the second name of The Walt Disney Company * Walt Disney Studios (division), t ...

Walt Disney Pictures
,
Walt Disney Animation Studios Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), sometimes shortened to Disney Animation, is an American animation studio An animation studio is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association o ...
,
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (), commonly known as just Pixar, is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform ge ...

Pixar
,
Marvel Studios Marvel Studios, LLC (originally known as Marvel Films from 1993 to 1996) is an American film and television studio that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly know ...
,
Lucasfilm Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC is an American film and television production company that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, which is a business segment of The Walt Disney Company. The studio is best known for creating and producing the '' Star Wars'' ...
, 20th Century Studios, 20th Century Animation and
Searchlight Pictures Searchlight Pictures, Inc. (formerly Fox Searchlight Pictures) is an American film studio within Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified ...
. The company was originally established in 1953 as Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc. (later renamed to Buena Vista Distribution Company, Inc. and Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.). It took on its current name in 2007. Before 1953,
Walt Disney Walter Elias Disney (; December 5, 1901December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. A pioneer of the Modern animation in the United States, American animation industry, he introduced sever ...
's productions were distributed by
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(1924–1926),
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(1926–1927),
Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common : Uni, and formerly named Universal Film Manufacturing Company and Universal-International Pictures Inc.) is an American and ...
(1927–1928), Celebrity Productions (1928–1930),
Columbia Pictures Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a Film, motion picture is #Production, produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting with ...
(1930–1932),
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(1932–1937, 1943), and
RKO Radio Pictures RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (a subsidiary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka: RKO) it was one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * the ...
(1937–1956).


History


Buena Vista

A dispute over the distribution of Disney's first full-length movie, ''
The Living Desert ''The Living Desert'' is a 1953 American nature documentary film that shows the everyday lives of the animals of the desert of the Southwestern United States The southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the So ...
'', in the ''
True-Life Adventures ''True-Life Adventures'' is a series of fourteen full length and short subject documentary film A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional film, motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, ...
'' series of live-action documentary featurettes in 1953 led to Walt and his older brother Roy O. Disney to form its wholly owned subsidiary, the Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc. (BVDC), to handle North American distribution of their own products. RKO refused to distribute the film. The name "Buena Vista" came from the street in Burbank, California, where the Disney Studios was located (and remains to this day). Buena Vista's first release was the Academy Awards, Academy Award-winning live-action feature ''
The Living Desert ''The Living Desert'' is a 1953 American nature documentary film that shows the everyday lives of the animals of the desert of the Southwestern United States The southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the So ...
'' on November 10, 1953, along with ''Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom'', Buena Vista's first animated release.The Disney Studio Story, by Richard Holliss and Brian Sibley, 1988. Notable subsequent releases include the foreign film, ''Princess Yang Kwei Fei'' (''Most Noble Lady''), released in US theaters in September 1956, ''The Missouri Traveler'' in March 1958, and ''The Big Fisherman'' in July 1959 (the first third-party production financed by Disney). By July 5, 1957, RKO Pictures, RKO Japan, Ltd. was sold to Disney Productions and British Commonwealth Film Corporation. In allocating the foreign film licenses to the company, Disney would use 5 and Commonwealth 8. In April 1960, the company dropped "Film" from its name. In 1961, Disney incorporated Buena Vista International (BVI), distributing its first PG-rated film, Take Down (1979 film), ''Take Down'', in January 1979. The low-budget movie was not produced by the Disney studios and was acquired from an independent studio, making ''The Black Hole (1979 film), The Black Hole'' the first PG-rated Disney film. In July 1987, Buena Vista changed its name to Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. (BVPD). Late in the 1980s, Disney purchased a controlling stake in one of Pacific Theatres' chains leading to Disney's Buena Vista Theaters and Pacific to renovate the El Capitan Theatre and the Majestic Crest Theatre, Crest by 1989. The Crest was finished first while El Capitan opened with the premiere of ''The Rocketeer (film), The Rocketeer'' film on June 19, 1991. In 1992, Buena Vista made production loans totaling $5.6 million to Cinergi Pictures for its film ''Medicine Man (film), Medicine Man'' and its 1994 films ''Renaissance Man (film), Renaissance Man'' and ''Color of Night'' and were distributing Cinergi's films. The corporation purchased a 12.8% share in Cinergi with its initial public offering in 1994. Soon, BVPD signed a 25 picture distribution deal with Cinergi. The Gaumont Film Company and Disney formed Gaumont Buena Vista International, a joint venture in French distribution, in 1993. In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would distribute Studio Ghibli animated films and provide 10% of the production cost of the studio's current in-production film, ''Spirited Away''. Disney would go on to produce the English dubs and distribute 15 of Ghibli's films, through the
Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Pictures is an American film production studio and subsidiary of Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios may refer to: * Walt Disney Studio (1926–1929) the second name of The Walt Disney Company * Walt Disney Studios (division), t ...

Walt Disney Pictures
, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Video, Miramax and Touchstone Pictures banners. In September 1996, following Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities Communications, Capital Cities/ABC, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. was merged into ABC, Inc., the parent company of that group. For the November 1995 premiere of ''Toy Story'', Disney rented the Hollywood Masonic Temple—adjacent to the El Capitan Theatre—for ''Totally Toy Story'', a multimedia funhouse and a promotional event for the movie. In July 1998, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution purchased the Hollywood Masonic Temple building to continue using it as a promotional venue. By 1997, BVPD's share in Cinergi dropped to 5%. After nine films were delivered under the agreement, Cinergi sold Disney on November 22, 1997, all of its 12-film library except for ''Die Hard with a Vengeance'' plus $20 million in exchange for Disney's Cinergi share holdings, production advances of $35.4 million and other loans. In 2002, Disney signed a four animated film deal with Vanguard Animation; however, Valiant (film), only one film was released under that negotiation. In 2004, BVI and Gaumont dissolved their French distribution joint venture, Gaumont Buena Vista International. Buena Vista International agreed to a distribution deal with MegaStar Joint Venture Company Limited in April 2006 for the Vietnam market.


Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In April 2007, Disney discontinued the usage of the Buena Vista (brand), Buena Vista brand in its distribution branding. In 2009, Disney entered a distribution agreement with a reorganized DreamWorks Pictures, DreamWorks; the deal called for an estimated 30 films over a five-year period from DreamWorks and they would be released through the Touchstone Pictures label. In 2011, GKIDS acquired the North American theatrical distribution rights of the Ghibli films, with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment retaining the home video rights until July 2017. Disney's distribution deal with DreamWorks expired in August 2016, after the two studios decided to not renew their agreement in December 2015, with
Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common : Uni, and formerly named Universal Film Manufacturing Company and Universal-International Pictures Inc.) is an American and ...
replacing Disney as DreamWorks' distributor. By the end of the deal, Disney had distributed 14 of DreamWorks's original 30-picture agreement; thirteen through Touchstone and one through
Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Pictures is an American film production studio and subsidiary of Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios may refer to: * Walt Disney Studio (1926–1929) the second name of The Walt Disney Company * Walt Disney Studios (division), t ...

Walt Disney Pictures
. Disney took complete ownership rights of those 14 DreamWorks films from Amblin Partners in exchange for loans made to that company. ''The Light Between Oceans (film), The Light Between Oceans'', the final film in that distribution deal, was also the last film released under the Touchstone banner. In December 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to Acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney, purchase 21st Century Fox, which included 20th Century Fox and Searchlight Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures. In March 2019, the acquisition of 21st Century Fox was completed. Following the reorganization and renaming of the acquired film units, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures began distributing 20th Century Studios films, while Searchlight Pictures continued to operate their autonomous distribution unit. In late 2020 and early 2021, Disney reorganized the studio, placing Theatrical Distribution under
Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED) is one of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the att ...
unit which also oversees distribution to Disney+. Under this structure, the Theatrical Distribution unit will oversee the domestic and international films produced by all the studios within the Walt Disney Studios umbrella — Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Blue Sky Studios and Searchlight Pictures.


Distribution

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures has distributed 31 films that have received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture: fifteen from its former Miramax division, four from
Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Pictures is an American film production studio and subsidiary of Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios may refer to: * Walt Disney Studio (1926–1929) the second name of The Walt Disney Company * Walt Disney Studios (division), t ...

Walt Disney Pictures
, six from Touchstone Pictures, two from both Hollywood Pictures and
Searchlight Pictures Searchlight Pictures, Inc. (formerly Fox Searchlight Pictures) is an American film studio within Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified ...
, and one each from
Marvel Studios Marvel Studios, LLC (originally known as Marvel Films from 1993 to 1996) is an American film and television studio that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly know ...
and 20th Century Studios. Of those nominated films, five films (''The English Patient (film), The English Patient'', ''Shakespeare in Love'', ''Chicago (2002 film), Chicago'', ''No Country for Old Men (film), No Country for Old Men'', and ''Nomadland (film), Nomadland''), have won Best Picture. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures currently distributes films from across all units of
Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios may refer to: * Walt Disney Studio (1926–1929) the second name of The Walt Disney Company * Walt Disney Studios (division), the Walt Disney Company's Studio Entertainment unit, which includes Disney's motion picture studios, mus ...
except
Searchlight Pictures Searchlight Pictures, Inc. (formerly Fox Searchlight Pictures) is an American film studio within Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified ...
, which maintains its own distribution and marketing operations. Other Disney film units and some third-party studios including:


International arrangements

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International was formed in 1961 as Buena Vista International. On May 4, 1987, despite being industry rivals, Disney signed a theatrical distribution agreement with Warner Bros., Warner Bros. International for the release of Disney and Touchstone films in many overseas markets except in Australia, where distribution went through Roadshow Entertainment, Roadshow Distributors, with Disney retaining full control of all distribution and marketing decisions on their product (one notable practice in this policy is obscuring Warner references in posters and it is credited only in very small text with the exception of some UK posters where sometimes the full logo is shown). Warner previously had an overseas distribution partnership with
Columbia Pictures Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a Film, motion picture is #Production, produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting with ...
, but it was dissolved in 1988. In 1992, Disney opted to end their joint venture with Warner Bros. to start autonomously distributing their films in these aforementioned overseas markets beginning with ''Aladdin (1992 Disney film), Aladdin'' and at the same period, Warner Bros. established the ''Family Entertainment'' label to self-distribute family-friendly films under the Warner umbrella. In those territories from 1993 to 2007, Disney reactivated the Buena Vista International name, and also sent distribution under it in countries that did not have any current arrangements with other companies.. Disney would then continue its overseas film distribution relationship with Warner Bros. through a home video distribution deal in Europe and Australia in which Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video distributed select Disney material on DVD from 1999 to 2002, when Disney opted to self-distribute DVDs in these aforementioned territories. Italia Film, a Lebanon, Lebanese film distribution and production company, is Disney's exclusive theatrical film distribution partner for various Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets since 1993, after making a deal directly with Buena Vista International at the time. Prior to this, Warner Bros. originally handled said MENA markets. In Taiwan, MGM first handled Disney's distribution, with 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. later taking over. A local distributor called Era Television, Era Communications took over distribution from 1992 to 1995. At that time, Buena Vista began its Taiwanese operations. Columbia ended its joint distribution unit with Fox and switched to Buena Vista in 1999. Rights to Disney's films in West Germany were originally released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM (under Cinema International Corporation, CIC in the early 1970s) and later to 20th Century Fox before the Warner Bros. joint venture. In September 2004, Buena Vista International Germany announced they would begin to start theatrically distributing certain films from Universum Film (mainly family-friendly releases) beginning in February 2005, replacing a previous deal with United International Pictures. The deal ended after Universum was sold by the RTL Group to Leonine Holding, Tele München Group, who began to self-distribute releases afterwards under the Leonine Holding, Leonine Distribution name. In Spain, Filmayer S.A. originally released Disney's movies, with Warner Española S.A. later taking over. In the United Kingdom, Disney's movies were released through Rank Film Distributors under the ''UK Film Distributors Ltd.'' name before the Warner Bros. joint venture. In Italy and Brazil, Disney's movies were distributed by Cinema International Corporation and United International Pictures before the Warner Bros. joint venture. In Australia and New Zealand, Disney's movies were distributed by 20th Century Fox under its joint ventures with CIC and UIP (named CIC-Fox and UIP-Fox respectively) before distribution switched to Event Cinemas, Greater Union Film Distributors until the latter merged with Village Roadshow in 1987 and Roadshow Entertainment took over distribution. In some other countries in Europe, such as Poland and Hungary, Disney's movies were instead released through local distributors, such as :pl:Filmoteka Narodowa – Instytut Audiowizualny, Filmoteka Narodowa in Poland and :hu:InterCom Zrt., InterCom Zrt. in Hungary respectively. Disney and Sony Pictures formed in 1997 a film distribution joint venture in Southeast Asia. By December 2006, 14 joint distribution ventures with Sony Pictures Releasing International were formed and exist in countries including Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. In January 2007, their fifteenth such partnership began operations in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS. In February 2017, Sony starting leaving the Southeast Asia venture with the Philippines. In August 2017, Sony terminated the joint venture agreement for their own operations. On January 31, 2019, in anticipation of the Acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney, then-pending acquisition of the most 21st Century Fox assets (which includes 20th Century Fox), Disney agreed to sell its stake in the Mexican joint venture named Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing de México to Sony Pictures Releasing. In Greece and Cyprus, Disney's movies are distributed through local distributor Feelgood Entertainment, which also distributes Sony Pictures films in those territories. In China, due to its regulated policies on international film distribution, all of Disney's films in China are distributed by China Film Co., Ltd. and/or Huaxia Film Distribution. In October 2017, it was announced that Disney would be handling international distribution of M. Night Shyamalan's ''Glass (2019 film), Glass'', released in early 2019, through the Buena Vista International banner. The film is a sequel to his earlier films ''Unbreakable (film), Unbreakable'' (distributed by Disney through Touchstone) and ''Split (2016 American film), Split'' (distributed by
Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common : Uni, and formerly named Universal Film Manufacturing Company and Universal-International Pictures Inc.) is an American and ...
). Through an arrangement made with Disney, Universal retained domestic rights to the film, while Disney distributed in international territories under the label. The UK-produced film ''Patrick (2018 film), Patrick'' was also released in 2018 by Disney under the Buena Vista International label in the UK. ''Missing Link (2019 film), Missing Link'' was also released by Disney under Buena Vista International in Latin America, Russia and some countries in Asia. In 2021, Buena Vista International also co-produced the Brazilian Netflix film ''Just Short of Perfect''.


Highest-grossing films

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures has released the most films that have crossed the $1 billion mark (twenty-five, in worldwide grosses among Major film studios, major Hollywood studios), with thirteen of the twenty List of highest-grossing films#Highest-grossing films, highest-grossing films of all time being distributed by Disney. This includes the highest-grossing film List of highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada, in North America (''Star Wars: The Force Awakens''). Of those twelve films, three of them have crossed the $2 billion mark in worldwide grosses, the most for any studio. In addition, Disney is the first of only three studios that have released at least two billion-dollar films in the same year (the others being Warner Bros. and
Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common : Uni, and formerly named Universal Film Manufacturing Company and Universal-International Pictures Inc.) is an American and ...
). Furthermore, Disney is the only studio that has achieved this seven times, in 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. 2016 included four $1 billion releases, and 2019 included seven $1 billion releases, both records for any studio. Eight of the top ten List of highest-grossing animated films#Highest-grossing animated films, highest-grossing animated films have been released by Disney, as well as sixteen of the twenty highest-grossing Motion Picture Association of America film rating system, G-rated films. In addition, four of the top five List of highest-grossing openings for films, opening weekends were Disney releases. In 2015, Disney achieved its largest yearly box-office gross worldwide and in North America. In 2016, Disney surpassed $7 billion in worldwide yearly box-office gross—the first of any major studio—surpassing the previous 2015 record. In 2019, Disney became the first studio ever to have seven releases cross $1 billion each in a single year. In the same year, Disney broke the previous records by making an unprecedented $13.2 billion at the global box office. —Includes theatrical reissue(s)


Notes


References


External links


Walt Disney Pictures
{{Authority control The Walt Disney Studios Film distributors of the United States Film production companies of the United States Entertainment companies based in California Companies based in Burbank, California American companies established in 1953 Entertainment companies established in 1953 Mass media companies established in 1953 1953 establishments in California