This is what Disney's film slate currently looks like in 2015, minus any additional titles it announces in the coming months: The Avengers 2 (May 1), Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (July, TBD), Pixar's Inside Out (June 19), Star Wars: Episode VII (TBD, could be moved to 2016), Marvel's Ant-Man (November 6) and the just-announced sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory (November 25).
And that's just Disney.
Have we ever seen one studio have this much potential success programmed over the course of one year? I mean, when an original Pixar movie and Edgar Wright's Ant-Man are your weak spots, that's pretty damn good. While it may not do much for those franchise haters out there considering all but two of these are sequels, you have to be impressed with this lineup as a fan. Back when we were anticipating the film slate for 2012, it didn't seem possible to top a summer that included The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises, and here Disney may do it all by itself in 2015.
How do you even compete with this? As of now, it seems you compete by not really competing. We still have a ways before studios begin firming up their plans for 2015, but as of today the biggest competition will come from the final Hunger Games movie (November 20), which is already sandwiched between two giant fan-friendly Disney movies (Ant-Man and Finding Dory).
Warner Bros. probably won't have a Justice League movie ready by then, and it won't have a new Batman reboot either. Maybe a Man of Steel sequel? Then there's Fox, which has promised a Fantastic Four reboot in March, wisely keeping its distance from a summer that will be completely owned by the Mouse House.
Maybe we'll see the next James Bond movie, though November is already packed and producers have said it may be three years before Bond returns, bringing us to 2016. So count Columbia Pictures in for Hotel Transylvania 2. Paramount, meanwhile, will debut a fifth Mission Impossible movie and a Tintin sequel, both likely arriving in December for the holidays.
So on paper, sure, this is massive. This is historic. This slate is guaranteed to break records. But it's after 2015 that Disney will need to worry about. Will audiences finally feel Pirates of the Caribbean fatigue after a fifth installment? Can the folks at Marvel keep fan interest high (and those Avengers signed) through a third phase of movies? The relaunch of the Star Wars brand on the big screen will find financial success, but will the fans truly embrace it? And can Pixar continue to produce the sort of memorable content it is known for as it expands its output to two films a year, while churning out various shorts and made-for-TV content at the same time?
Disney may completely own you in 2015, but it's you who calls the shots from then on out.