Ranking Disney's 2019 Slate

 

December Banners.jpg

In 2016, Disney broke the box office record for highest studio gross in a calendar year, just barely passing over into the $3 billion range. With Mary Poppins Returns opening this weekend, Disney is likely to pass the $3 billion dollar mark again, raising the bar they set just two years ago. It’s true, 2018 has been a massively successful year for Disney (you know you’re doing well when your Star Wars summer blockbuster is only your fifth highest grossing film of the year). But 2019 could be an even bigger year for Disney. With two official MCU installments, two highly-anticipated animated sequels, Star Wars: Episode IX, and three live-action remakes of some of their most beloved animated classics, Disney might just top themselves again. So before we ring in the new year and bow down to our multimedia overlord, I am going to countdown their 2019 slate, ranking them from least anticipated to most anticipated.

11. Artemis Fowl

Look, I have nothing against Artemis Fowl. I just… don’t really get it. I never hopped onto the Eoin Colfer train when everyone else did, and the teaser trailer looks unfavorably reminiscent of some of more recent high-budget, CGI-packed flops (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, A Wrinkle in Time). Maybe fans of the book series will find this interesting, but to me it looks pretty skippable. I bet you didn’t even know Disney was making this one. 🍿

Release Date: 8/9/19

froz2.jpg

10. Frozen 2

Didn’t get enough dorky snowtime adventures with Frozen? You’re in luck! Frozen 2 comes to theaters next year and I am less than thrilled. Disney’s market saturation technique following the success of Frozen has made the film inescapable for the last half a decade… and yes, it came out five years ago. Without any teaser trailer to look at, it’s pretty hard to predict the quality of the film, but considering the fact that I didn’t like Frozen, I don’t have much faith in the sequel. 🍿

Release Date: 11/22/19

9. Aladdin

Disney’s recent track record with their line of live-action remakes has been nothing short of shoddy. The Jungle Book was an interesting departure, but Beauty and the Beast was a slog. Aladdin could be of either persuasion. The teaser trailer left me underwhelmed, and the animated Aladdin has never been a top-tier Disney film for me. Maybe Aladdin will prove me wrong, but even if it sucks, Disney will still make a ton of money. 🍿🍿

Release Date: 5/24/19

8. Penguins

This one sort of doesn’t count. The latest in the Disneynature franchise of family-friendly nature documentaries, Penguins looks… fine. It will have some nice cinematography and some B-list celebrity doing the narration, but at the end of the day it’s just a discount BBC special. Hopefully Disney’s acquisition of Fox (which includes National Geographic) will boost the quality and scope of their educational and nature programming in the future. 🍿🍿

Release Date: 4/17/19

7. Dumbo

Opening in March, Dumbo will be the first live-action remake from Disney next year. From the first trailer, it seems like Dumbo will be a narrative departure from the animated version, packed with breathtaking visual effects. Its stellar cast (including Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell, and Danny Devito) is surely a plus, and the fact that it could be Tim Burton’s best movie in almost a decade is certainly intriguing. While it’s not likely to be one of my favorites of the year, it could stand out as an early treat during what are traditionally considered “dump months.” 🍿🍿🍿

Release Date: 3/29/19

6. The Lion King

It’s unclear how different The Lion King will be from the animated original, but even if it’s a carbon copy, it will probably still be good. The visual effects look on par with The Jungle Book (also directed by Jon Favreau), if not better. The cast (which features Donald Glover Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver) is superb. I mean, what could be bad about Donald Glover and Beyonce singing some of Disney’s most classic songs? Be prepared (haha) for The Lion King to rule the box office and the Billboard charts next year. 🍿🍿🍿

Release Date: 7/19/19

Spider-Man_-_Far_From_Home_logo.png

5. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Okay, so this technically isn’t Disney. It’s Sony and Marvel Studios, but Disney owns Marvel Studios so… I’m including it. Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, and Zendaya have all been tapped to reprise their roles from the last film, while Jake Gyllenhaal joins the cast as main villain Mysterio. It will likely be the least compelling of Marvel’s 2019 releases (of which there are three), but if this is anything like the last one, it should be a fun, action-packed palate cleanser following what will likely be a brutal Avengers outing three months earlier. 🍿🍿🍿🍿

4. Toy Story 4

I know it seems like blasphemy to put this anywhere other than number one, but I’ll just say it: I’m skeptical. The mere idea of another Toy Story movie makes me cringe, and the teaser trailer (featuring the living spork) didn’t persuade me otherwise. The second teaser, which featured two new characters voiced by Key and Peele, was actually really fun, but it still feels dangerous to tack on another film to this undisputedly fantastic trilogy. The original Toy Story is one of the landmark films of the last fifty years. Toy Story 2 is a worthy sequel, and Toy Story 3 is a generation-defining masterpiece. Maybe I’m clinging too hard to the past, but Toy Story 3 has always felt like the perfect ending to me. For Toy Story 4 to be worth it, it has to be really, really good. Buy hey, maybe it will be. 🍿🍿🍿🍿

Release Date: 6/21/19

3. Captain Marvel

The MCU’s first female-led film looks amazing. Brie Larson will star as the titular character alongside Jude Law and MCU stalwart Samuel L. Jackson (sans eyepatch). Guardians of the Galaxy actors Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou (who portrayed the villains Ronan the Accusers and Korath respectively) will be reprising their roles, due to the fact that Captain Marvel is set before the events of Guardians (where both characters were killed). Barring some horrible miscalculation, Captain Marvel is shaping up to be a major event film. It’s unlikely to generate the same buzz that Black Panther did earlier this year, but anything is possible. My biggest hope is that the film does well enough to persuade Disney and Marvel Studios to produce more female-led films, both in the MCU and otherwise. 🍿🍿🍿🍿

Release Date: 3/8/19

Screenshot_2018-07-27-16-58-14-267_com.alensw.PicFolder-01.png

2. Star Wars: Episode IX

There haven’t been any posters, trailers, teasers, or even a title to base this analysis on. And yet, it’s my second most anticipated Disney film of 2019. J. J. Abrams returns to the franchise after handing over the reigns to Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi. The final chapter (for now?) in the Skywalker saga has the possibility to be one of the most epic and exciting movies of the decade, let alone the year.. There will, of course, be a lot of talk over where the franchise will go next, but I’m just excited to hang out with Rey, Kylo, Finn, and Poe again. The stunning visual effects, emotive performances, and sense of grandeur of Force Awakens and Last Jedi are bound to be repeated in Episode IX. As long as Abrams doesn’t copy-and-paste a previous Star Wars entry into the plot of the film (like he did for Force Awakens), I think it will be worth the wait. 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

Release Date: 12/20/19

1. Avengers: Endgame

2015 saw Disney release Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens: two perfectly good movies in my opinion. But if you had told me back then that an Avengers film would be more anticipated and, possibly, more financially successful than a new Star Wars entry, I would have been shocked. But here we are three years later, coming off the immense success of Infinity War, and it’s hard to imagine Avengers: Endgame not being the biggest film in the world. I think Endgame and Episode IX are probably running neck-and-neck when it comes to box office, but Marvel currently sits at the peak of the cultural zeitgeist, unrivaled. Star Wars is no longer the franchise of the era; that title belongs to the MCU. Every superhero fan (a title that is no longer relegated to the “nerdy” kids in the comic shop) is waiting with baited breath to see how Marvel will seize their moment. Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of twenty-one interconnected fantasy epics, and that culmination is shaping up to be the mother of them all. If the reaction to Infinity War is any indication, Endgame will likely be the most talked-about movie of 2019. And boy am I excited to talk about it. 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

Release Date: 4/26/19


 
 
David Merkle