Walt Disney Pictures
Subsidiary of a public held corporation
Industry Film
Founded 1950
Founder Walt Disney
Roy O. Disney
, United States
Key people
Sean Bailey (president, production)[1]
Products Motion pictures
Parent The Walt Disney Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
Website waltdisneystudios.com

Walt Disney Pictures, Inc., also referred to as Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, is an American film production company and a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, owned by The Walt Disney Company. The division is based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, and is the main producer of live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Studios unit. It took on its current name in 1983. Today, in conjunction with the other units of Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Pictures is classified as one of Hollywood's "Big Six" film studios.[2][3]

Nearly all of Walt Disney Pictures' releases along with Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures films are distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, through home media platforms via Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and through television syndication by Disney–ABC Domestic Television.



The studio's predecessor (and the modern-day The Walt Disney Company's as a whole) was founded as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, by filmmaker Walt Disney and his business partner and brother, Roy, in 1923.

The creation of Mickey Mouse and subsequent short films and merchandise generated revenue for the studio which was renamed as The Walt Disney Studio at the Hyperion Studio in 1926.[4] In 1929, it was renamed again to Walt Disney Productions. The studio's streak of success continued in the 1930s, culminating with the 1937 release of the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which became a huge financial success.[5] With the profits from Snow White, Walt relocated to a third studio in Burbank, California.[6]

In the 1940s, Disney began experimenting with full-length live-action films, with the introduction of hybrid live action-animated films such as The Reluctant Dragon (1941) and Song of the South (1946).[7] That same decade, the studio began producing nature documentaries with the release of Seal Island (1948), the first of the True-Life Adventures series and a subsequent Academy Award winner for Best Live-Action Short Film.[8][9]


Walt Disney Productions had its first fully live-action film in 1950 with the release of Treasure Island, considered by Disney to be the official conception for what would eventually evolve into the modern-day Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[10] By 1953, the company ended their agreements with such third-party distributors as RKO Radio Pictures and United Artists and formed their own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution.[11]

The division was incorporated as Walt Disney Pictures on April 1, 1983 to diversify film subjects and expand audiences for their film releases.[12] In April 1983, Richard Berger was hired by Disney CEO Ron W. Miller as film president. Touchstone Films was started by Miller in February 1984 as a label for their PG-rated films with an expected half of Disney's 6 to 8 movies yearly slate would be released under the label.[13] Berger was pushed out as a new CEO was appointed for Walt Disney Productions later in 1984, as Michael Eisner brought his own film chief, Jeffrey Katzenberg.[14] Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures were formed within that unit on February 15, 1984 and February 1, 1989 respectively.[15]

Walt Disney Pictures had pioneered the live-action remakes of animated films created by Walt Disney Animation Studios,[16] with a live-action adaptation of One Hundred and One Dalmatians released in 1996.[17] In 2010, Disney released Alice in Wonderland, an adaptation of the 1951 animated film of the same name that became the second $1 billion-grossing film in the studio's history. The film began a trend of live-action fantasy genre films being green-lit. Concurrently, Disney was not having stable commercial success with PG-13 tentpole films outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, with films such as John Carter (2012) and The Lone Ranger (2013) becoming major box office bombs. With sister units Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm successfully targeting the male market, the studio saw this as its niche. With the success of Maleficent (2014) and Cinderella (2015), the studio announced a whole series of live-action adaptations of animated films as being in early stages.[17] The Jungle Book (2016) cemented this trend with a global near billion-dollar box office.[1] Some adaptations are sequels to existing adaptations, origin stories and prequels. Disney had announced development of 18 of these films by July 2016.[17] Disney identified this line as Disney Fairy Tale in its enlarged slate announcement on October 8, 2015 with four scheduled without titles attached.[18]


Instead of a traditional production logo, the opening credits of Disney films used to feature a title card that read "Walt Disney presents", and later, "Walt Disney Productions presents". Beginning with the release of The Black Cauldron in 1985, Walt Disney Pictures introduced its fantasy castle logo.[19] The logo was created by Walt Disney Feature Animation in traditional animation and featured a white Sleeping Beauty Castle design against a blue background, with the studio's name and underscored by "When You Wish Upon a Star".[20]

This logo and variations was seen before all films until 2006, when it was updated with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at the behest of then-Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook and studio marketing president Oren Aviv.[20] Designed by Disney animation director Mike Gabriel and producer Baker Bloodworth, the modernized logo was created completely in computer animation by Weta Digital and featured a redesigned 3D Waltograph typography. The final rendering of the logo was done by Cameron Smith and Cyrese Parrish.[21] In addition, the revamped logo includes visual references to Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Cinderella, and its redesigned castle incorporates elements from both Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella Castle, as well as Walt Disney's family crest. Mark Mancina wrote a new composition and arrangement of "When You Wish Upon a Star" to accompany the 2006 logo.[20] Beginning with the release of The Muppets in 2011, the words "Walt" and "Pictures" were dropped from the branding.[22]


The studio's first live-action film was Treasure Island (1950). Animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar are also released by Walt Disney Pictures. The studio has released four films that have received an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination: Mary Poppins (1964), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009), and Toy Story 3 (2010).[23]

Highest-grossing filmsEdit

Walt Disney Pictures has produced three films that have grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011),[1] as well as having released four animated films that have reached that milestone; Toy Story 3 (2010), Frozen (2013), Zootopia, and Finding Dory (both 2016).

Highest-grossing films in North America[24]
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Finding Dory 2016 $486,131,416
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006 $423,315,812
3 The Lion King 1994 $422,783,777
4 Toy Story 3 2010 $415,004,880
5 Frozen 2013 $400,738,009
6 Finding Nemo 2003 $380,843,261
7 The Jungle Book 2016 $364,001,123
8 Inside Out 2015 $356,002,827
9 Zootopia 2016 $341,268,248
10 Alice in Wonderland 2010 $334,191,110
11 Beauty and the Beast 2017 $316,952,887
12 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2007 $309,420,425
13 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 $305,413,918
14 Up 2009 $293,004,164
15 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005 $291,710,957
16 Monsters, Inc. 2001 $289,916,256
17 Toy Story 2 1999 $276,554,625
18 Monsters University 2013 $268,492,764
19 The Incredibles 2004 $261,441,092
20 Moana 2016 $247,650,255
21 Cars 2006 $244,082,982
22 Maleficent 2014 $241,410,378
23 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011 $241,071,802
24 Brave 2012 $237,283,207
25 Oz the Great and Powerful 2013 $234,911,825
Highest-grossing films worldwide
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Frozen 2013 $1,279,852,693
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006 $1,066,179,725
3 Toy Story 3 2010 $1,063,171,911
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011 $1,045,713,802
5 Finding Dory 2016 $1,025,473,532
6 Alice in Wonderland 2010 $1,025,467,110
7 Zootopia 2016 $1,023,641,447
8 The Lion King 1994 $968,483,777
9 The Jungle Book 2016 $964,062,422
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2007 $963,420,425
11 Finding Nemo 2003 $940,335,536
12 Inside Out 2015 $851,175,046
13 Maleficent 2014 $758,410,378
14 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2005 $745,013,115
15 Monsters University 2013 $743,559,607
16 Up 2009 $731,342,744
17 Beauty and the Beast 2017 $690,252,887
18 Big Hero 6 2014 $657,827,828
19 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 $654,264,015
20 The Incredibles 2004 $631,442,092
21 Ratatouille 2007 $623,722,818
22 Moana 2016 $606,044,531
23 Tangled 2010 $591,794,936
24 Monsters, Inc. 2001 $562,816,256
25 Cars 2 2011 $559,852,396

—Includes theatrical reissue(s).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Jr, Mike Fleming (March 21, 2017). "Sean Bailey On How Disney's Live-Action Division Found Its 'Beauty And The Beast' Mojo". Deadline. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
  2. ^ Schatz, Tom. The Studio System and Conglomerate Hollywood (PDF). Blackwell Publishing. Disney also exploited new technologies and delivery systems, creating synergies that were altogether unique among the studios, and that finally enabled the perpetual “mini-major” to ascend to major studio status. 
  3. ^ Finler (2003), The Hollywood Story pp. 324–25.
  4. ^ "Chronology of the Walt Disney Company (1926)". kpolsson.com. 
  5. ^ Gabler, Neal (2007). Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. New York: Random House. pp. 276–277. ISBN 0-679-75747-3. 
  6. ^ Schroeder, Russel (1996). Walt Disney: His Life in Pictures. New York: Disney Press. 
  7. ^ "The Walt Disney Company History". Company Profiles. fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "The Best of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures (1975)". NY Times Movies. New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  9. ^ "New York Times: Seal Island". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  10. ^ "The Walt Disney Studios". Disney Corporate. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  11. ^ Fixmer, Fixmer (April 25, 2007). "Disney to Drop Buena Vista Brand Name, People Say (Update1)". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Business Entity Detail: Walt Disney Pictures (search on Entity Number: C1138747)". California Business Search. California Secretary of State. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (February 16, 1984). "Touchstone Label to Replace Disney Name on Some Films". New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (December 2, 1988). "COMPANY NEWS; Disney Expansion Set; Film Output to Double". New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  15. ^ Kunz, William M. (2007). "2". Culture Conglomerates: Consolidation in the Motion Picture and Television Industries. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 42, 45. ISBN 9780742540668. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (July 6, 2015). "Disney Buys Live-Action Prince Charming Project". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 20, 2017. Disney pioneered the recent and lucrative trend of taking either old animated classics or fairy tales and spinning them into live-action features. 
  17. ^ a b c Oswald, Anjelica; Acuna, Kirsten (July 19, 2016). "Disney is planning 18 live-action remakes of its classic animated movies — here they all are". Business Insider. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  18. ^ Hipes, Patrick (October 8, 2015). "Disney: 'Ant Man And The Wasp' A Go, 'Incredibles 2' Dated & More". Deadline. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  19. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (June 22, 2015). "Why the iconic Walt Disney Pictures logo was changed for 'Tomorrowland'". Businesses Insider. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c "Old Disney magic in new animated logo". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006. Retrieved July 10, 2006. 
  21. ^ "Behance". www.behance.net. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  22. ^ Walker, RV (March 28, 2015). "The Disney Logo: A Brief History of its Evolution and Variations". Nerdist Industries. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ Tribou, Richard (January 16, 2014). "Not-so-golden year for Disney's chances at the Oscars". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Box Office by Studio – Disney All Time". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 27, 2016. 

External linksEdit