2016 was the year of #Disney, as the House of Mouse dominated the box office with tentpole animations and big budget franchise hits. The studio raked in a record-breaking $7 billion worldwide, and there's a chance Disney could top their record in 2017.
Having already banked well north of $100 million at the foreign box office,#GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2 stands a slim chance of pushing towards that billion dollar barrier. Not bad for a bunch of A-holes. Previously this year, #BeautyAndTheBeast waltzed passed that magic number, pulling in as much as $1.14 billion.
However, this is merely the beginning of Disney's impressive slate for 2017. Here's a rundown of the studio's most important upcoming movies and how their worldwide box office success could lead to another record-breaking year.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Release date: 26 May, 2017
Next up in Disney's roster is the fifth installment of the #PiratesOfTheCaribbean franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Pirates 5 promises the star power of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley), as well Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar. Because of this, the film is a likely contender to join Disney's billion dollar club. If On Stranger Tides can raid the worldwide box office for as much as $1.04 billion, then Dead Men Tell No Tales could sail well beyond that figure.
Still, the Pirates sequel could suffer from dwindling star power. The public's reaction to Johnny Depp's involvement in #FantasticBeasts ranged from lacklustre to outrage, following criminal allegations leveled against the star. Even then, low estimations for Pirates 5 still sit at around $750 million.
Estimate: Between $750m and $1 Billion.
If Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales come in on the higher end of the spectrum, Disney will be heading into June at full speed with Cars 3.
Release date: 16 June 2017
Disney Pixar movies are almost always a safe bet for box office success, but the Cars franchise almost put the brakes on this trend after Cars 2 ($562 million worldwide). Similarly, 2015's The Good Dinosaur was the only Pixar movie to date to earn less than $500 million.
However, Disney Pixar can also celebrate relatively recent success with Toy Story 3 ($1.06 billion) and Finding Dory ($1.03 billion). Cars 3 is as likely to crash as it is to soar, but will most likely finish somewhere in between - modestly contributing to what could be a record-breaking year.
Estimate: Between $500M - $700M
Release date: 3 November 2017
Fans also have more adventures from the #MCU to look forward to, as Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters like a bolt of lightening on 3 November, 2017. Last year's Captain America: Civil War took the crown for worldwide box office gross, sitting just shy of the top 10 all-time highest grossing movies with a total of $1.15 billion.
Ragnarok not only looks to capture the colorful weirdness of Guardians of the Galaxy, but also delivers on a long-standing demand for a 'Planet Hulk' storyline. Fans have been clamoring for the big green gladiator ever since his disappearance at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Marvel have wrapped that up nicely with the hilarious chemistry between Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Mark Ruffalo's Hulk.
While it's easy to overstate the potential success of MCU movies, trends suggest that Thor: Ragnarok won't be as hammer-shatteringly successful as some believe. Surprisingly, no movie in the MCU has made over $800 million without an appearance from Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark - but there's a first time for everything.
Estimate: Between $800M - $900M
Release date: 22 November 2017
Disney's only other concern is Pixar's next original offering, #Coco. The animation draws on vivid Day of the Dead traditions, casting Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) and his canine companion into a surreal underworld unlocked by music.
Coco could really go either way. The last two original Disney Pixar features, Inside Out ($857 million) and The Good Dinosaur ($332 million) were their most and least successful features to date. Timing is everything when it comes to children's movies, and while Coco looks uniquely stunning, that won't guarantee it success in a season filled with superheroes and Jedi.
Estimate: Between $500M - $675M
Which brings us to Disney's final film of the year, the one sure-fire hit that could be Disney's best hopes of breaking their annual record.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Release date: 15 December 2017
Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi is probably the only film of the year almost certified to join the billion dollar club. The Force Awakens set an unbeaten record for an opening weekend, debuting to the fanfare of $247 million domestically. It's theatrical run pulled in a staggering $936 million domestically and an astonishing $2.06 billion worldwide. Whether The Last Jedi can match those figures remains to be seen, with many suggesting that the unique circumstances behind TFA can't be replicated for Episode 8.
After the inordinate success of Rogue One ($1.05 billion worldwide), it seems as though Lucasfilm's golden touch can't fail. Episode VII might have had 30 years of nostalgia to play with, but Episode VIII has gotten everyone talking about the new direction of the franchise.
Estimate: Between $1.5 Billion - $2 Billion
Working on predictions that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit anywhere between $750 million and $1 billion worldwide, that brings Disney's yearly predicted total to between $5 billion and 7.4 billion. Disney could feasibly match last year's record, but the likelihood is that the Studio will fall short without unprecedented success for titles such as Thor: Ragnarok and Coco.
However, with several multi-million dollar releases on their slate and a potential multi-billion dollar blockbuster arriving in time for the holidays, it's not going to be a lean year at the House of Mouse. Perhaps the record will be broken in 2018 instead, thanks to next year's #InfinityWar.