Walt Disney Studios will release 12 films during 2015, Variety reported on Dec. 30. The Disney dozen include live-action version of animated classics as well as two releases each releases from Marvel and Pixar studios.
But as Variety points out, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is likely to be Disney’s biggest release in 2015. The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, and “The Force Awakens” will be the first “Star Wars” film released under its oversight.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” directed by J.J. Abrams, will be the first “Star Wars” film since 2005. The seventh film in the saga will be released Dec. 18, during the busy holiday movie-going season.
Lucasfilm, which Disney acquired in 2012, also jumpstarts the Disney’s movie slate with its animated “Strange Magic.” That film, based on a story by George Lucas, is slated for release Jan. 23.
As Forbes details, Disney’s movie schedule reveals the company’s continued use of the strategies that have proved successful for the studios. In building and rebuilding its various properties under The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, the company has focused on releasing tent-pole movies, promoting its acquired properties such Marvel and Pixar, and drawing on the Disney brand’s association with fairy tales for its own releases.
While “Star Wars” bookends the 2015 film schedule, there are plenty of blockbusters to see throughout the year. The following rounds out Disney’s movie slate, with releases listed in chronological order.
“McFarland, USA,” directed by Niki Caro, is a live-action sports drama about a high-school cross-country team and is inspired by a true story. The film, which stars Kevin Kostner as the coach, will be released Feb. 20.
Disney’s live-action “Cinderella” will be released March 13. The fairy-tale film is directed by Kenneth Branaugh, who brought his epic scale to “Thor,” and stars Lily James (Lady Rose MacClare of “Downton Abbey”) in the title role.
Disneynature’s “Monkey Kingdom” is an early spring release. The eighth movie in the nature documentary series will be released to theaters April 17, just in time for Earth Day audiences.
Marvel once again kicks off the summer season with its May 1 release of the next “Avengers” film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), “The Age of Ultron.” “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” assembles familiar members of the team – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye – along with some new faces.
Brad Bird’s ”Tomorrowland,” starring George Clooney, will be released May 22. While most of the film’s plot have been kept under wraps, expect some fantastical science-fiction fare – set at least partially in the 1964-64 New York World’s Fair.
“Inside Out,” the first of two Pixar animated movies, comes out June 19. The 3D fantasy, directed by Pete Docter, is set inside the head of a young girl, Riley. That’s where audiences will meet the five emotions who live there and who guide her actions.
“Ant-Man” will be released July 17. Marvel’s second film of the year, and twelfth in the MCU, introduces yet another superhero to the fold. It also launches yet another franchise. Marvel will begin releasing three movies a year in 2017.
Fall sees the next release of a Disney live-action film that has an animated predecessor. Jon Favreau’s version of “Jungle Book” will come to movie theaters Oct. 9. The film stars a number of A-list Hollywood actors, many of whom do voice work for the animal characters: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken.
The only DreamWorks film in Disney’s 2015 movie slate is an untitled Cold War spy thriller directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. That film will be released Oct. 16.
Kicking off the holiday season, and rounding out the 12 films for Disney’s schedule, is another Pixar animated move. “The Good Dinosaur” will be released Nov. 25. Pixar’s sixteenth film, directed by Peter Sohn, is a comedy that asked the question, “What is the asteroid never hit Earth, and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?”
Film industry watchers, take note: in 2015 Disney will release no animated movies under its own studio. In 2014, Disney released “Big Hero 6.”