The idea to write something about Disney’s incredible run lately came to me the other night. We watched UP with the boys and I had forgotten how good that movie was.  That got me thinking to how many hits Disney has had lately. Look at this list from 2009-2012 with the US box office numbers, Rotten Tomatoes user scores, and my grade:
Up- $293M, 86%, “Great”
Princess and the Frog- $104M, 72%, “Good+”
Toy Story 3- $415M, 91%, “Amazing”
Tangled- $201M, 87%, “Amazing”
Brave- $237M, 79%, “Good+”
Wreck-It Ralph- $187M, 89%, “Great”
That is quite a great run for Disney.  From 2009-2012 that is 2 “Amazing”, 2 “Great” and 2 “Good+”.  That list doesn’t even take into account non-animated success like: Muppets ($88M, 81%, “Good+”) or the Avengers ($623M, 96%, “Amazing”).  Plus Disney now owns Star Wars and will be releasing Episode 7,8 and 9 as well as a Yoda movie and maybe TV content. Plus they have a ton of Marvel stuff in works (Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 and probably Hulk plus Avengers 2 some day) and a Muppets sequel.  It hasn’t been all roses (John Carter and Mars Needs Moms) but with 6 big animated hits in 4 years, plus new big franchises, things are looking good for the Mouse.
The flip side of this coin is that Disney had a pretty bleak run for a while there.  After a successful run with Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin; the magic died in the mid 90’s.  The Hunchback and Pocahontas era was especially bad.  Disney did have the starting of a good run in 1998-99 with A Bug’s Life, Tarzan (underrated), and Toy Story. But that run got derailed pretty quick. 2000-2008 was pretty slim pickings by Disney standards.
Look at this list:
Emporer’s New Grove
Monsters Inc
Lilo and Stitch
Finding Nemo
Brother Bear
Chicken Little
The Wild
Meet the Robinson’s
Out of that group I would score 3 “Really Good” (Cars, Monsters and Nemo), 3 “Pretty Good” (Lilo, Incredibles, Ratatouille), and the others border from “OK” to “Horrible”.  You’ll notice only 1 of the better films was non-Pixar.  Most of the Disney solo projects were disappointments.
It seems around 2006 that Disney decided to heavily invest in their film division   They outright purchased Pixar for $7.4 billion (instead of just partnering).  This was a big and smart move.  Pixar was the only reason that 2000-2008 had any good movies for Disney.  Then in 2009 Disney purchased Marvel for $4 billion, and finally they bought LucasFilm (Star Wars) for another $4 billion.  That’s 15.4 BILLION in business acquisitions for their film division since 2006.  I’m pretty sure they will be making their money back on those investments.  If those future projects keep up with their recent quality level they will have several hits (let alone the tie ins for toys, rides, and games).  Time to buy some stock.