ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, for a subject that ought to be distinctly cut and dried, the discussion of box office takings can be a pretty tricky business. After all, even after the complicating factors of production costs, marketing expenses and awards season investment are taken into consideration, it remains largely impossible to gauge exactly how much of the box office gross is actually due to the film studio that produced a given film, and how much will be lost to international distribution deals or back-end contractual obligations to key creative or financial figures within the production itself.

In other words? A movie might make three-quarters of a billion at the worldwide box office, while barely making a profit. That, though, doesn't seem to have been the sort of concern troubling this past year, seeing as:

Predictably, Disney Turned An Absolutely Insane Profit In 2016

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney]

So much so, in fact, that the house of mouse has managed to make banner years for a pair of competing studios look distinctly paltry by comparison. Y'see, with THR having just published its annual look at studio profits, we now know that Disney made a whoppin' great $2.5 billion in profit back in 2016. Indeed, thanks to the astonishing success of , and , along with the financial tail end of the commercial juggernaut that was , Disney managed to clear its nearest competitor by a solid $800 million.

What's perhaps a little more surprising, however, is the identity of that chasing studio. , after all, was on the receiving end of a whole lot of critical snark back in 2016, and many suspected that and will have struggled to make as much profit as their substantial, but not billion dollar mark-scratching, box office totals might have suggested. Parent company Time Warner, however, still had a distinctly successful year, with the movie division adding to already successful TV and consumer product lines.

'Suicide Squad' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'Suicide Squad' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

Elsewhere, the news was similarly positive for , with the astonishing financial success of joining with a strong TV division to drive $1.3 billion in profits up to the studio's doors. , meanwhile, had a tougher time of it, with the relatively weak box office of its biggest successes and resulting in a solid but unspectacular $697 million profit margin. , meanwhile, posted a $440 million profit, despite the relative under-performance of the likes of — just so long as you don't count a $962 million impairment charge, the result of write-downs on the company's dwindling home entertainment revenues.

That, though, is the sort of financial outcome that 's parent company Viacom would likely have killed for, with the film division's string of unsuccessful releases leading to a $364 million loss. Though, when your financial hopes are being pinned to and , that's perhaps to be expected.

And so, somewhat predictably, the year belonged to the three studios that offered up high level superhero fare — a trend that is almost certainly set to continue in 2017. After all, we've got three movies: Logan, Wonder Woman and Justice League coming our way over the next 10 months. Plus, of course, Disney has a pair of aces in the hole in the form of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast.

Expect a similar article around this time next year.

What do you think, though? Do you think the profit rankings will be very different for 2017? Let us know below!

(Sources: THR)


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