The Walt Disney Studios is an American film studio, and one of five major business segments of The Walt Disney Company.[1] The studio, known for its multi-faceted film division, which is one of Hollywood's major film studios, is based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Walt Disney Studios' film division is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).[2]


In 1923 founded of The Walt Disney Company, was Walt and Roy O. Disney, the creators respectively well known company including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Toy Story and other Disney and Pixar characters. The Walt Disney Company includes the cartoons, films and television studio Disney, the pay TV broadcaster Disney Channel, other Disney book and magazine publishers and the comic publisher Marvel, which among other things publishes the superhero comics about Hulk and Spider-Man. The Studios generated an estimated income of $722 million during the 2012 fiscal year.[3] In October 30th 2012 - Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion including Star Wars - the end of the Star Wars trilogy at the 20th Century Fox studios.


By the 1980s, The Walt Disney Studios' collection of film units emerged as one of Hollywood's "Big Six" film studios mostly due to newly designed efforts in branding strategies, a resurgence of Walt Disney Pictures' animated releases and unprecedented box office successes particularly from Touchstone Pictures.[4]

The Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group was formed by Joe Roth in 1998 to unite the Touchstone, Hollywood, and Disney film studios and led by David Vogel.[5] This was in order to centralize the various production units and to make live-action film production within Disney more cost-efficient.(citation needed)

In 1999, Walt Disney Television Studio, including Buena Vista Television Productions, were transferred out of the Disney Studios to ABC Television Network[6] to merge with ABC's prime-time division to form ABC Entertainment Television Group.[7]

Walt Disney Studios

In January 2003, Disney initiated a reorganization of its theatrical and animation units to improve resource usage and continued focus on new characters and franchise development. Walt Disney Feature Animation - sans Walt Disney Television Animation - and Buena Vista Theatrical Worldwide were placed under The Walt Disney Studios.[8][9]

In 2003, the first PG-13–rated film was released under the Walt Disney Pictures imprint, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a film based on the famous Disneyland attraction.(citation needed) Film director M. Night Shyamalan, who had done The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village with Disney clashed with the Group's executives during pre-production of his 2006 film, Lady in the Water. Shyamalan left the studio after Nina Jacobson and others become, in Shyamalan's eyes, overly critical of his script, which would eventually be produced by Warner Bros. Shyamalan is quoted in a book about the difficult period that he "had witnessed the decay of her creative vision right before his own wide-open eyes. She didn't want iconoclastic directors. She wanted directors who made money." In her own defense, Jacobson said, "in order to have a Hollywood relationship more closely approximate a real relationship, you have to have a genuine back and forth of the good and the bad. Different people have different ideas about respect. For us, being honest is the greatest show of respect for a filmmaker."[10]

In July 2006, Disney announced a shift in strategy of releasing more Disney-branded (i.e. Walt Disney Pictures) films and fewer Touchstone titles. The move was expected to reduce the Group's work force by approximately 650 positions worldwide.[11] After being transferred to various other division groups since they were acquired in 2004 in 2006, The Muppets Studio was incorporated into the Walt Disney Studios special events group.[12] In April 2007, Disney retired the Buena Vista brand.[13] The Studio launched Kingdom Comics division in May 2008 led by writer-actor Ahmet Zappa, TV executive Harris Katleman and writer-editor Christian Beranek. Kingdom was designed to create new properties for possible film development and re-imagine and redevelop existing Disney library movies with Disney Publishing Worldwide getting a first look for publishing.[14]

On February 9, 2009, DreamWorks Studios entered a 7-year, 30-picture distribution deal with the studio's Touchstone Pictures imprint starting in 2011.[15] The deal also includes co-funding by Disney to DreamWorks for production.[16] In late 2009, Miramax Films, a formerly independent Disney film unit, was transferred to the Walt Disney Studios, until its sale in 2010.[17] The Kingdom Comics unit's creatives/executives moved its deal to an independent Monsterfoot Productions.[18]

On December 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. Disney began distributing Marvel Studios' films in 2012, acquiring the distribution rights for The Avengers and Iron Man 3 from Paramount Pictures on October 18, 2010.[19] On October 30, 2012, Lucasfilm agreed to be purchased by The Walt Disney Company and a Star Wars trilogy was announced[20] and was finalized on December 4.[21] Later that year on December 4, Disney agreed to have Netflix as its exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first run Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature feature films starting in 2016 to replace its agreement ending in 2015 with Starz.[22]

In April 2013, the Walt Disney Studios laid off 150 workers including staff from the marketing and home entertainment units.[23][24]

Studio structure

Studio units[25]
Film imprints and studios Disney Music Group Disney Theatrical Group Disney Studio Services[26][27] special events group
Columbia Pictures (with Sony Pictures)
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Animation StudiosDisneyToon Studios
Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesTouchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Disney Music Publishing
Disney Theatrical Productions
Disney on Broadway
Disney on Ice
Disney Live!
Studio Production Services
Walt Disney Studios (Burbank)
Golden Oak Ranch
The Prospect Studios
Disney Digital Studio Services[28]
The Muppets Studio


Former units include


Walt Disney Studios is the main production arm for Disney's motion pictures. Walt Disney Pictures is a film imprint that encompasses the release of its own productions, in addition to films produced by its animation studios, notably Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.(citation needed) Another film imprint, Touchstone Pictures, releases films for more mature audiences including films produced by DreamWorks Studios.[30] In 2009, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment, in addition to purchasing full ownership rights to Marvel Studios' films in 2010.[19] Disneynature is an independent film label devoted to nature documentary productions. In December 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and its intellectual properties.[21]

Hollywood Pictures was another division of Disney, in which, like Touchstone, produced films for mature audiences, but was shut down in 2007. In 1993, Disney acquired Miramax Films and its Dimension Films genre label, with the former division operating as an autonomous unit until 2009, and the Dimension label becoming absorbed by The Weinstein Company in 2005.[31] By 2009, Miramax was folded into the Walt Disney Studios, and continued to serve as distribution label until it was sold by Disney to Filmyard Holdings in 2010.[32][33][29] From 2007 to 2010, Disney and ImageMovers ran a joint motion capture animation facility; ImageMovers Digital.[34][35]

All film productions mentioned above are distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and on home media platforms by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.[36]

Disney Music Group

Main article: Disney Music Group

Disney Music Group is a music production group led by Ken Bunt, that consists of multiple record labels — Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records — and publishing identities that handle Disney's music.

Disney Theatrical Group

Main article: Disney Theatrical Group

Disney Theatrical Group is the division producing live theatrical and stage events. It is currently under the leadership of Thomas Schumacher. The Disney Theatrical Productions division has been responsible for the production of many different musicals, touring events, ice shows and other live theatrical events. Their shows include: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aida, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, Newsies and numerous incarnations of Disney on Ice.

See also

Portal.gif Walt Disney Studios portal
  • ESPN Films


  1. Walt Disney Co: Company Description. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
  2. Motion Picture Association of America – About Us. MPAA. Retrieved on May 27, 2012.
  3. The Walt Disney Company: Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Financial Report And Shareholder Letter. Page 3. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved on 6 February 2013.
  4. Schatz, Tom. "The Studio System and Conglomerate Hollywood", [1]. 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.” 
  5. Disney War, by James Stewart, 2005. Page 301.
  6. Hofmeister, Sallie. "Disney Plans to Consolidate Two of Its Television Groups", July 08, 1999. Retrieved on 5 July 2013. 
  7. Hofmeister, Sallie. "Disney Combining Network TV Operations Into One ABC Unit", July 09, 1999. Retrieved on 5 July 2013. 
  8. Godfrey, Leigh. "Disney Streamlines Television Animation Division", January 3, 2003. Retrieved on 27 February 2013. 
  9. Godfrey, Leigh. "David Stainton Named President, Disney Feature Animation", January 3, 2003. Retrieved on 27 February 2013. 
  10. Los Angeles Times (June 23, 2006): "Book Tells of Breakup with Disney"
  11. "Schaeffer's Upon Further Review Highlights the Following Stocks: Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, Knight Capital Group, and Walt Disney", July 19, 2006. Retrieved on 6 December 2012. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Masters, Kim. "Kermit as Mogul, Farting Fozzie Bear: How Disney's Muppets Movie Has Purists Rattled", 20 October 2011, pp. 3 of 4. Retrieved on 20 August 2013. 
  13. Fixmer, Andy. "Disney to Drop Buena Vista Brand Name, People Say", Bloomberg Television, April 25, 2007. Retrieved on August 8, 2007. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Kit, Borys. "Disney draws up plans for graphic novel biz", May 29, 2008. Retrieved on October 3, 2012. 
  15. The Walt Disney Company: 2011 Annual Financial Report. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved on 30 December 2012. Page 12.
  16. Eller, Claudia. "DreamWorks gets Disney cash in distribution deal", Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2009. 
  17. Eller, Claudia. "Disney to slash Miramax Films staff to 20, reduce releases to 3 a year", October 3, 2009. Retrieved on 11 February 2013. 
  18. McNary, Dave. "Facts on Pacts". Retrieved on 12 February 2013. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Kim Masters. "Disney to Distribute Marvel's 'The Avengers,' 'Iron Man 3'", The Hollywood Reporter, October 18, 2010. Retrieved on October 18, 2010. 
  20. Disney purchases Lucasfilm, announces new Star Wars. 3 News (October 30, 2012). Retrieved on October 30, 2012.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Patten, Dominic (December 4, 2012). Disney-Lucasfilm Deal Cleared By Feds. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
  22. Crowe, Deborah. "Disney, Netflix Sign Distribution Deal", December 4, 2012. Retrieved on 6 December 2012. 
  23. Barnes, Brooks. "Disney Studios Lays Off 150 Employees", The New York Times, April 10, 2013. Retrieved on 2013-04-11. 
  24. Miller, Daniel. "Walt Disney Co. expected to begin layoffs", 5 April 2013. Retrieved on 28 April 2013. 
  25. The Walt Disney Studios – Our Businesses. The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved on May 28, 2012.
  26. The Walt Disney Studios. The Walt Disney The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved on June 2, 2012.
  27. Disney Studios Services. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved on June 2, 2012.
  28. Disney Digital Studio Services. Disney Digital Disney. Retrieved on June 2, 2012.
  29. 29.0 29.1 The Walt Disney Company: 2011 Annual Financial Report. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved on December 30, 2012. Page 12
  30. Variety: Disney signs deal with DreamWorks; Company will handle distribution for films, Variety, February 9, 2009
  31. Eller, Claudia. "Disney's Miramax Unit to Get a Makeover", 22 February 2005. Retrieved on 29 September 2013. 
  32. "Miramax offices close, Disney says brand continues", January 29, 2010. 
  33. Graser, Marc. "Rich Ross reshapes Disney film studios", Variety, January 29, 2010. 
  34. "Disney, "Polar Express" director in animation deal", February 5, 2007. Retrieved on 2010-11-21. 
  35. Finke, Nikki. "Disney Closing Zemeckis' Digital Studio",, March 12, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-11-21. 
  36. "Company Overview of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Inc.". Retrieved on 10 February 2013. 

External links

Template:Disney Template:Walt Disney Studios

v - e - d [[File:{{{image}}}|center|{{{imagesize}}}|]]