Earlier today, Disney announced that Zootopia, its latest animated film, reached $1 billion in global box office sales. According to the financials, it’s Disney’s second biggest release (behind Captain America: Civil War) and the second Disney animated film to cross the billion dollar mark (behind Frozen).
It’s nothing short of an amazing feat for Disney, let alone an animated film. There was a time not too long ago that animated films were considered the lesser compared to live-action films. But there were films like Toy Story and the early Pixar films that did a lot to show that they were worthy of consideration by the general public, not just kids.
Pixar and Disney Animation chief creative John Lasseter has been at the forefront of spreading his vision of telling relatable and universal stories through animation. While it might be obvious to some, it’s actually a really difficult thing to do. Prior to Lasseter, Disney Animation had a moment of confusion when executives dictated the messages and overall tone and content of their films.
The results of having that business-driven mindset to filmmaking churned out films that didn’t even resonate with kids like Bolt and Home on the Range. That ultimately resulted in poor box office revenues that had Disney executives looking to take action.
That action was simple: revert to having filmmakers dictate their own films. One of the first changes that Disney’s current CEO Bob Iger wanted to implement in his new role was to revitalize Disney Animation and so came Lasseter and his filmmaker-centric mind and track record for creating revenue-generating animated films.
They weren’t any ordinary films though. They were films that had great stories that resonated with everyone, where characters and worlds didn’t feel far from our very own. It was a new take on defining a Disney tale that gave Disney Animation and Pixar the motivation to keep doing the same for their award-winning films that were released in the last decade.
Zootopia, which is also nearly available to own on Blu-ray/Digital HD tomorrow, now joins those list of successful films that have done well at the box office satisfying executives and shareholders, but more importantly the world and diverse audience that’s ever hungry for good stories.
“We make films for everyone,” Lasseter frequently says. And everyone is willing to pay well for them.
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