Disney (NYSE:DIS) announced on Thursday that Toy Story 4 had just crossed the $1 billion threshold. In a press release, the company said: "Toy Story 4 -- which is now the No. 8 biggest animated movie of all time -- joins Incredibles 2, Finding Dory, and Toy Story 3 to become the fourth Pixar film and second Toy Story film to reach the $1 billion milestone."
Even more importantly for Disney, the film becomes the company's fifth 10-figure release in 2019 -- taking the record for the most $1 billion box office hits in a single year. It joins Avengers: Endgame ($2.8 billion), The Lion King ($1.3 billion), Captain Marvel ($1.1 billion), and Aladdin ($1.0 billion) in this year's billion-dollar club. The sixth movie to cross that benchmark this year, Spider-Man: Far From Home, was a Sony movie that was co-produced by Marvel -- so Disney has had a hand in them all.
A growing stable of Disney box office hits
Disney set the previous benchmark with four $1 billion-plus earners back in 2016 with the release of Captain America: Civil War, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Finding Dory, and Zootopia. It was also notable that each of Disney's major studios -- Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Disney Animation Studios -- contributed to that effort. These successes drove Disney to $7.61 billion in total box office that year, setting the all-time record for single-year ticket sales by any studio.
Disney recently eclipsed that total, announcing that it had set a new benchmark, accumulating more than $7.67 billion in box office receipts so far in 2019 -- with more than five months remaining in the year.
Even before the acquisition of studio assets from Fox, Disney has dominated the box office. Of the 43 films that have garnered more than $1 billion in ticket sales, the various studios under Disney's control account for 23 of them. The company adds two more from Fox to the list: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Avatar, which just ceded the No. 1 all-time box office record to Avengers: Endgame.
These films still have more to give Disney
If you think that Disney's previous successes aren't still relevant, think again. The House of Mouse is about to enter the streaming video space in a big way, with the launch of Disney+ in November. Investors have been bidding up the stock since the announcement in April, as Disney is one of the few companies with the heft and a sufficiently large library of intellectual property to become an immediate contender in the streaming wars.
In fact, nearly all of Disney's billion-dollar box office hits will be available on Disney+ when it debuts, along with a host of the company's classic films going back decades.
A big boost to the current Disney results
Disney's studio entertainment posted the most impressive gains of any of its segments, with revenue that grew 33% year over year, on the strength of the blockbusters released so far this year.
It's also important to note that the year is far from over, as both Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are scheduled for release Nov. 22 and Dec. 20, respectively. So the potential is definitely there for two more billion-dollar earners to be added to the 2019 list.