We all know Disney is one of the biggest companies in the world. In addition to their film and television productions, they also own the most popular theme parks around the globe. The Walt Disney Company also has numerous other multi-media holdings in the United States and abroad. But did you realize exactly how much Disney is actually worth?
According to the Motley Fool, The Walt Disney Company currently has a net worth of $165 billion. Not bad for a little outfit put together by Walt and Roy Disney in 1923 under the name “Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio.”
Disney on the Fortune 500
So how does that rank on the scale of the world’s biggest companies? Believe it or not, Disney doesn’t even make the top 10. According to the Fortune 500 list, the biggest company in the world is currently Walmart, with annual revenues of $482 billion.
The rest of the top 10 is made of mostly of oil and electric companies, except for auto manufacturers Toyota and Volkswagen. They’re also joined this year by newcomer Apple, with annual revenues of $234 billion.
The Walt Disney Company doesn’t make the list until #53. Considering its far reach and cultural influence, it’s hard to believe that Disney could be so far down the list. Looking at motion pictures alone, Disney films frequently gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
What you have to realize though, is that Disney doesn’t just get a fat check for a billion dollars. Big budget summer tentpoles can now cost up to $300 million or more just to get made. Marketing budgets can almost double that figure.
You can apply that logic to other Disney holdings, as well. It’s easy to hear theme park attendance numbers and think to yourself, “they must be rolling in cash!” That’s especially true considering how much admission and concessions cost these days. But operating a theme park is hugely expensive. Consider the costs associated with paying the massive number of staff members, the utility bills associated with such a large property, and even the tax burden the company must face.
Disney Continues to Dominate
Now, that’s not to say that Disney is struggling in any way, shape, or form. $165 billion is nothing to laugh at, and The Walt Disney Company is doing just fine. The company’s big summer release, Zootopia, has already surpassed Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time. And thanks to The Force Awakens and Captain America: Civil War, recent purchases Star Wars and Marvel are paying off in a big way.
The company continues to take strategic advantage of their brands, as well. A massive construction project is currently underway at both Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Once complete, it will see the parks playing host to “Star Wars Land.” The popularity of the sci-fi franchise should ensure both parks will see their attendance grow in the coming years.
A long-standing contract with Universal Studios that was signed before Disney’s purchase of Marvel prevents the company from using any of their popular superheroes at Walt Disney World. That arrangement doesn’t apply to Disneyland, however, so the company recently announced plans to renovate the Tower of Terror ride to take on a new Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy identity.
Disney may not be the biggest company in the world, but with success around every corner, they’re doing just fine.