2016 was a great year for Disney.  Our favourite movie making company had historic, unparalleled success after becoming the first company ever to exceed $7 billion in box office sales!  Blockbusters such as Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia (Zootropolis in the UK),  The Jungle Book, Finding Dory and of course the recently released and, the frankly superb, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have ensured that everything Disney touches turns to gold right now.

This period of time we are living through at the moment feels like a golden age for Disney.  It feels like the new renaissance.  And as we look ahead to 2017 there doesn’t appear to be any slow down in the quality or quantity of movies we can look forward to.

Of course Disney is not just a film studio.  The movies come to life in the theme parks around the world and there is so much cool merchandise available it’d be easy to bankrupt yourself buying everything you’d want!

So in the first of a new series of articles we’ll be taking a look at ‘5 Things…’ we can get excited about in 2017, starting with movies:

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Say what you like about this franchise but there is a reason we’re onto film number 5!  The film is scheduled for release in May and will see Johnny Depp starring as Captain Jack Sparrow once again. This time he is in search of an artefact called The Trident of Posedion which grants its possessor control of the seas.

The movie has been delayed a couple of times due to script and budgeting reasons however I’m hopeful that it’s a case of Disney wanting to ensure that the film is up to scratch when released!

4. Cars 3

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Pixar has a couple more exciting releases in 2017 following on from 2016’s highest grossing movie, Finding Dory.  The first of them is Cars 3 which actually takes the original slot slated for Toy Story 4. Sadly we won’t see Woody, Buzz and Co until 2019 now however we will see the return of Lightning McQueen.  Sadly, McQeen is not the young enthusiastic rookie he once was and suffers a huge crash.  The movie will see him try to rebuild his reputation against newer, sleeker cars!

I loved the original Cars movie and felt it was underrated.  However the reason why I think this is an exciting release is it gives Pixar the chance to lay the ghost of the ridiculous Cars 2 to rest!  Cars has undoubtedly brilliant characters and the whole spy secret agent thing in Cars 2 just fell flat.  I’m hoping that’s why Pixar are creating Cars 3 – to erase the blot on their copy book.

3. Coco

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Next up is Pixar again.  This time however with a brand new original story.  As much as I love the sequels Pixar create there is always something a little more exciting about a brand new tale.  The anticipation of superb new characters and beautifully created settings is what Pixar excels at. We recently got a peak at Coco’s lead character, a 12 year old Mexican boy named Miguel.  The film uses the Mexican ‘Día de los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) as its vehicle to transport Miguel into another world where he comes face to face with his, dead, relatives who don’t want him to play music.  However, Miguel has other ideas.  Although this is not a musical per se it will apparently see Pixar enter new territory using music throughout.

2. Beauty and the Beast

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Speaking of music we’ll be enjoying a lot more of that in Disney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast when it’s released in March.  Disney have successfully transformed Cinderella and The Jungle Book into live acion versions recently and Beauty and the Beast is simply the next in line (The Lion King and Mulan are to follow too in the future.)

The fact is Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s best loved movies of all time.  Belle is a wonderful princess.  Her yellow dress is iconic and the soundtrack and storyline are superb.  Straight from the heart of the original Disney renaissance period it feels apt that this film is being released now in what feels like another golden age of Disney cinema.

I cannot wait to take my wife and 3 daughters to see this when it is released!

1. Star Wars Episode VIII

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Trying to decide between #1 and #2 has been so difficult!  If Beauty and the Beast were up against any other film but Star Wars Episode VIII it’d be at number 1.  However the force remains strong with Star Wars and hot on the heels of Rogue One follows the eagerly anticipated 8th installment of the main set of Star Wars movies.

Details about the story line are limited at present although we do know the movie will pick up immediately from where The Force Awakens finished – with Rey finding Luke Skywalker in hiding. It’s going to be amazing!

So it really looks like Disney will have an incredible year at the box office again and are likely to outperform every other studio.  Marvel have a Thor movie and a follow up to Guardians of the Galaxy too.  Whether they’ll top the $7bn mark again this year remains to be seen but with a new Star Wars film and Beauty and the Beast then they have a very good chance.

Which Disney movie are you most looking forward to seeing?

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