Those madmen and madwomen at Disney! They made us all wait until the fifth day of the new year before confirming their official 2017 slate! I kid. All joking aside, if you were indeed wondering if there would be any surprises in their lineup this year, wonder no more! There aren’t any surprises, by the way. While some might ultimately rear their heads as the year goes on, especially when it comes to lower budget fare, the tentpoles (and lone documentary) are mostly of the now-expected Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm variety.
The Hollywood juggernaut released well over a dozen films nationwide last year. four of them had the honor of becoming the highest-grossing films of 2016. Three of them managed to cross the legendary $1 billion mark and the fourth came close to joining them. An additional three of them managed to fall within the Top 20 highest-grossers. Yowza. Way to go, Mickey! Will their unstoppable moneymaking momentum carry over into 2017? I’ll let you be the judge as you behold their latest candidates for global box office domination…
March 17th – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
April 31st – BORN IN CHINA
May 5th – GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
May 26th – PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
June 16th – CARS 3
November 3rd – THOR: RAGNAROK
November 22nd – COCO
December 15th – STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII
There’s also Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is a joint production with Sony and arrives on July 7th. Disney previously had two undetermined fairytale films set for release on July 28th and December 22nd. Both are now vacant, leaving Beauty and the Beast the only such release in 2017. This honestly isn’t much of a shock, as they have been dragging their feet on getting a few applicable projects to the starting line. However, fear not, fairytale fanatics! There are already three such movies on deck for arrival in 2018 (Disenchanted, Mulan, Mary Poppins Returns) and a castle-load more where they came from (Dumbo, The Lion King, Peter Pan, etc.).
I haven’t been wowed by most of their live action fairytale slate thus far. The first couple (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent) left a lot to be desired in my book, but each subsequent offering appears to be an improvement on the last*. To be perfectly honest, I actually enjoyed the hell out of last year’s Pete’s Dragon update. Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast looks like a winner as well, something that I hope carries through their ever-expanding fairytale-tinged theatrical slate.
* – Alice Through the Looking Glass being glaring exception, although still a slight improvement on Burton’s abominable original.