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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is an American motion picture distribution company owned by The Walt Disney Company. Established in 1953 as Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, the company handles distribution for films produced by the Walt Disney Studios; including Walt Disney PicturesWalt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios DisneyToon Studios Disneynature, Marvel Studios, and since 2015; Lucasfilm. The division took on its new name in 2007, which before that had been Buena Vista Pictures Distribution since 1987.


Prior to 1953, Walt Disney's productions were distributed by Sony/Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists and RKO Radio Pictures. However, a dispute over the value of Disney's True-Life Adventures series of live-action documentary featurettes in 1953 led to Walt and his older brother Roy Oliver Disney to form its wholly owned subsidiary the Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc. (BVD) to handle the U.S. distribution of their own product. Buena Vista's first release was the Academy Award winning live-action feature The Living Desert on November 10, 1953 along with Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, Buena Vista's first animated release. Notable subsequent releases include the foreign film, Yang Kwei Fei (Most Noble Lady), released in US theaters in September of 1956, The Missouri Traveler in March 1958, and The Big Fisherman in July 1959 (the first third-party production financed by Disney).

In 1961, Disney incorporated Buena Vista International, distributing its first PG rated film, Take Down, in January 1979 .

In April 2007, Disney dissolved the Buena Vista moniker in its distribution branding.


Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is noteworthy for having 10 films that have surpassed the $1-billion-mark and 1 film of the $2-billion-mark in worldwide ticket sales:

Disney is the only major Hollywood studio that has released more than four films that have crossed the $1-billion-mark (in worldwide grosses). In addition, Disney is the first of only two studios to have released two $1-billion films in the same year (the other being Warner Bros.). The top three highest grossing animated films have been released by Disney. Sixteen of the twenty highest grossing G-rated films were also distributed by Disney. In 2012, Disney achieved its largest yearly box-office gross in North America.

The company distributes all features produced by The Walt Disney Studios, other Disney film units and some third-parties including:

Current units

Former units

Active producer/distribution deals

  • Mandeville Films (1996–present)
  • Mayhem Pictures (2002–present)
  • Studio Ghibli (North America; 1998–present)
  • Martin Chase Productions
  • Mark Gordon Co.
  • Junction Entertainment
  • Panay Films
  • POW! Entertainment

Former producer deals

International arrangements

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International was formed in 1961 as Buena Vista International, Inc., which is the owner of Disney Channel Asia.[1] In 1992, Disney opted to end a previous joint venture with Warner Bros., that began in 1988 to distribute their films in overseas markets (UK, Ireland, Benelux and Scandinavia). In those territories from 1993-2007, Disney reactivated the Buena Vista International name, and also sent distribution under it in countries that did not have any current arrangements with other companies. Distribution rights in West Germany were given to MGM (under CIC in the early 1970s) and later to 20th Century Fox before the Warner Bros. joint venture. In Russia and CIS, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Greece, Singapore and the Philippines, Disney films had been distributed in a joint venture with Sony Pictures Entertainment.[2] In Japan, distribution rights are handled in partnership with Toho.

Other international distributors


Title Years
Fantasia 1940–1999
Bambi 1942–2006
Cinderella 1950–2007
Peter Pan 1953–present
Lady and the Tramp 1955–2001
The Shaggy Dog 1959–2006
101 Dalmatians 1961–2003
The Absent-Minded Professor 1961–1997
The Parent Trap 1961–1998
The Incredible Journey 1963–1996
Winnie the Pooh 1966–present
The Jungle Book 1967–2003
Herbie 1968–2005
Witch Mountain 1975–2009
The Apple Dumpling Gang 1975–1982
The Rescuers 1977–1990
The Muppets 1979–present
The Fox and the Hound 1981–2006
Tron 1982–present
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 1989–1997
The Little Mermaid 1989–2008
White Fang 1991–1994
Beauty and the Beast 1991–1998
The Mighty Ducks 1992–1996
Aladdin 1992–1996
The Lion King 1994–2004
Angels in the Outfield 1994–2000
The Santa Clause 1994–2006
Pocahontas 1995–1998
Toy Story 1995–present
Freaky Friday 1995-2003
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996–2002
Hercules 1997–1999
George of the Jungle 1997–2003
Air Bud 1997–present
Mulan 1998–2005
Tarzan 1999–2005
Inspector Gadget 1999–2003
Monsters, Inc. 2001–present
The Princess Diaries 2001–2004
Lilo & Stitch 2002–2006
Pirates of the Caribbean 2003–present
Brother Bear 2003–2006
National Treasure 2004–2007
The Chronicles of Narnia 2005–2008
Cars 2006–present
Marvel Animated Features 2009-2011
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2008–2012
Tangled 2010–present
Marvel Cinematic Universe 2012–present
Frozen 2013–present
Star Wars 2014-present

International arrangements

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International was formed in 1961 as Buena Vista International. In 1992, Disney opted to end a previous joint venture with Warner Bros., that began in 1988 to distribute their films in overseas markets (UK, Ireland, Benelux & Scandinavia). Distribution rights in West Germany were given to MGM and later 20th Century Fox before the Warner Bros. joint venture. In Russia and CIS, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, Disney films had been distributed in a joint venture with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Other international distributors
  • UK/Ireland — Rank Film Distributors (1954-1987) and Warner Bros. (1987-1992)
  • Turkey — United International Pictures
  • Ukraine — United International Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Kazakhstan — United International Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. (former 20th Century Fox)
  • Finland — Suomi-Filmi
  • Belgium/Netherlands/Benelux — United International Pictures
  • Australia/New Zealand — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1959-1968), Greater Union Organization (1968-1987), CIC-Fox (1970s-1987), Village Roadshow (1988-1992)



  1. The Disney Studio Story, by Richard Holliss and Brian Sibley, 1988.
  2. Disney, Sony team up for Russian content, The Hollywood Reporter, December 27, 2006.


  • Disney retains all the distribution rights to these 14 DreamWorks films in perpetuity[1]
  • Although GKIDS acquired the theatrical distribution rights to Studio Ghibli's films from Disney in 2014, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment continues to retain the home media distribution rights to 13 Ghibli films.[2][3]

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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