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Disney’s Most Important Movie Of 2019 Isn’t ‘Avengers’ Or ‘Star Wars’

Ferdia Shaw in ‘Artemis Fowl’Walt Disney

Last night saw the debut of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass. The Universal/Comcast offering is being distributed overseas by Walt Disney. Since Glass is a sequel to both Unbreakable (which Disney released in 2000) and Split (which Universal released in 2017), the two titans of Hollywood (all due respect to Warner Bros.) are teaming up to bring you this … uh … $20 million suspense actioner set mostly in a single location.

That’s not a criticism; it just kinda reads like the Legion of Doom teaming up to rob a bookmobile. Anyway, while it’s mostly being viewed through the lens of Universal’s slate, Blumhouse’s streak and M. Night Shyamalan’s current comeback tour, it is technically Walt Disney’s first release for what promises to be a massive year in the theatrical box office.

Counting M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass and Disneynature’s Penguins (which … spoiler … is also a stealth sequel to Born in ChinaMonkey Kingdom and Bears), Disney will offer 11 movies in wide theatrical release this year. Barring a fluke, they are going to own the year in terms of market share dominance. I would almost argue that the rest of the studios aren’t even trying to comparatively compete. WB moved Wonder Woman 1984 to 2020, as Paramount/Viacom did with Top Gun 2 and Annapurna/Universal did with James Bond 25. That’s not to say that other studios won’t have their big hits—Sony’s Men in Black International and Universal’s Secret Life of Pets 2 should do just fine—but there is a “let’s just kick back and wait until next year” feeling.

There’s arguably nothing on Disney’s 2020 slate (or beyond) that will compare to this year’s slate. It is possible that no future live-action Disney fairy tale adaptation will be as big as Aladdin and The Lion King (July 17), no future Pixar sequel will be as big as Toy Story 4 (June 16) and no Disney Animation flick will score as big as Frozen 2 (November 22).

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