Disney has officially announced their 2017 movie slate and you may be surprised to know that it only includes eight films. This number is down from the thirteen released in 2016 and eleven released in 2015. The slate includes two Marvel films, two Pixar films, one Lucasfilm, one Disneynature film, and the last two, a remake and a sequel, come from the main studio. The films and release dates are:
- Beauty and the Beast (March 17th)
- Disneynature’s Born in China (April 21st)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5th)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26th)
- Cars 3 (June 16th)
- Thor: Ragnarok (November 3rd)
- Coco (November 22nd)
- Star Wars: Episode VIII (December 15th)
July 28th and December 22nd had originally been staked out by the studio for untitled live action Disney Fairy tale movies, however there isn’t really anything in active production that could make a July release at this point, and releasing a film on the 22nd of December would only mean competing with their own Star Wars film, a film that is sure to be among the top grossing of 2017.
Also worth noting is with the exception of Born in China all of the films are tentpole films. Gone are the smaller films like The Finest Hours and Queen of Katwe. Instead, the studio giant has opted to pursue the event style of film releases, increasing the anticipation for the individual features instead of of pumping out a slew of fodder. Whatever the reason for the change up, no one can argue the studios direction is not a lucrative one. Disney is coming off a record setting year, taking in an industry record high in both foreign box office, reaching $7.61 Billion internationally, and surpassing $3 Billion domestically; a first for any studio.