ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

While most commenters on this site - and in general - tend to focus on the "battle" between Disney/Marvel and DC/WB and their current and upcoming franchises, as of right now, they are battling for the right to be the SECOND-most successful studio in 2014.

Right now, 20th Century Fox is having the most successful year of any studio in terms of 2014 domestic box-office - and with a bit of breathing room going into the Holiday homestretch.

As of October 19, 20th Century Fox had accumulated 18.0% Studio Market Share in 2014 with a total of $1,4841 billion. Though technically 18 films contributed to this total, 5 were weak holdovers from 2013 that really didn't generate much money at all in 2014. They include: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" ($26.752 million in 2014); "Walking with Dinosaurs" ($11.730 million) "The Book Thief" ($3.273 million) and truly microscopic totals for "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" ($77,810) and "The Counselor".

So an overwhelming percentage of Fox's $1.4841 billion total has been generated by just 13 releases in 2014. That is more than Buena Vista (Disney) with 11 releases in 2014, Universal with 11 and Paramount with only 10, but fewer than Warner Brothers with 18, Sony/Columbia with 17 and Lionsgate with 15.

The key with 20th Century Fox's 2014 slate so far is that they have had heavy-hitters AND a deep bench.

First, the heavy hitters. They have had two 2014 films pass the $200 million mark domestically, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" ($233.9 million) and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" ($208.2 million). That is only one less than Buena Vista (Disney)'s total of three: "Guardians of the Galaxy" ($327.7 million); "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" ($259.7 million) and "Maleficent" ($240.9 million). It also matches the total of Warner Brothers: "The LEGO Movie" ($257.7 million) and "Godzilla" ($200.6 million). Sony only had one film in 2014 cross the threshold, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", with $202.8 million. The same was the case with Paramount, which saw "Transformers: Age of Extinction" generate $245.4 million. Universal had none. It didn't even come close ("Neighbors" is it's top 2014 film so far with $150 million). Lionsgate has had zero so far, though that will change once a certain franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence hits theaters next month.

But where 20th Century Fox is excelling this year is that it has more genuine hits than anyone else.

It has SEVEN films that have grossed over $100 million so far in 2014: "X-Men: Days of Future Past", "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", "How to Train Your Dragon 2" ($176.4 million); "Rio 2" ($131.5 million); "The Fault in our Stars" ($124.8 million); "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" ($111.5 million) and "Gone Girl" ($106.7 million). "The Maze Runner" still has a chance to join the club. Even if it doesn't it did well enough to green light a sequel. "The Other Woman" ($83.9 million) and "Let's Be Cops" ($81.7 million) round out the studio's Top Ten and can both be considered hits as well.

Disney, in contrast, has had only one film generate over $100 million domestically besides it's "Guardians/"Winter Soldier"/"Maleficent" three-headed monster this year. Unfortunately, it was a film released in 2013 - "Frozen". You may have heard of it.

Disney's bench has been so weak, that another 2013 release, 'Saving Mr. Banks", is one of it's Top 10-grossing 2014 films with a paltry $39.2 million in ticket-sales this year.

In fact, while "Let's Be Cops" was 20th Century Fox's tenth-highest 2014 release, the tenth-highest-grossing Buena Vista (Disney) 2014 release is...."Bears", with a puny $17.7 million take.

Is it any wonder why Disney is looking forward to "Big Hero 6"? Any wonder there has been great demand in some circles to have them expand their Marvel Studios output, revitalize their Pixar brand and expand their "Star Wars" cinematic universe?

Warner Brothers has only had four of it's eighteen 2014 releases pass the $100 million mark so far, the aforementioned "The LEGO Movie" and "Godzilla", as well as "300: Rise of An Empire" ($106.5 million) and "Edge of Tomorrow" ($100.2 million).

It's bench is sclerotic to such a degree that the Adam Sandler bomb, "Blended" ($46.2 million) is IT's tenth-highest grossing 2014 entry.

Is it any wonder they finally put a plan together to have 12 superhero movies, 3 "Harry Potter" spin-offs and 3 "LEGO" films in the next five years, with hints they will be doing films on their Vertigo properties as well?

As part of the price of hedging their bets, Warner Brothers will have to watch as "interstellar" will count as a Paramount film in regard to market share, since they wanted to share the risk.

Speaking of the rest of the year, 20th Century Fox will finish with guaranteed hits "Penguins of Madagascar" and "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb", as well as the promising films "The Pyramid" and "Exodus: Gods and Kings".

Buena Vista (Disney) basically has "Big Hero 6" and that's basically it. it, which means it would have to come close to "Frozen" numbers to give the studio any hope of overtaking 20th Century Fox by the end of the year. "into The Woods" is a question mark. it will depend on the marketing push it gets.

As for Warner Brothers, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" is it's only remaining mega-blockbuster on the schedule, while "Horrible Bosses 2" should also do well. "American Sniper" and "Inherent Vice" are both potential hits, but could get lost among the bigger releases during the Holiday Season.

What do you all think?


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