Disney Dominated the Box Office in the 2010s, But Was it Really the Superhero Decade?

Looking back over the last ten years, how Disney crushed the competition, why it matters, and how you can use their strategy to win your next decade

Also, highlights and lessons from 2010–2019, and the ONE THING that matters the most

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According to the New York Times, we are living in Hollywood’s Comic Book Age. Superhero movies are a global obsession, seen by hundreds of millions, and arguably the most consumed stories in human history.

They are also formulaic, wholly driven by commercial calculation, full of violence, special effects, and CGI, with big soundtracks. Also star-studded, stunningly crafted, celebrating courage, selflessness, and vigilantism, usually meaningless, but sometimes aspiring, or even inspirational — we love them!

Is it because we are psychologically wired to love those who protect the weak, those who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and those who are normal, but also exceptional? Is it the hopeful vibe? As in, the good guys always win? Or is it tech envy, or pure unadulterated escapism?

Who knows? Who cares? We love them!

I mean, I don’t love them. Ok, I love Tony Stark, Wonder Woman, and Rey, but I haven’t seen most of the movies on this list. However, when I was thinking back to the highlights of 2019 for my year-end wrap-up, then realizing with a panic that it was also time for a decade in review, I went to Google and Wikipedia. Who wouldn’t?

This is what came up: The 2010s were measured in Politics and Conflicts (which includes major conflicts, international and civil wars, revolutions, major protests, peace treaties, nuclear proliferation, terrorist attacks, assassinations, and attempts), then Disasters (which includes aviation, general, fires, marine, and pollution, as well as natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods, avalanches, mudslides, volcanic eruptions, droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires), followed by Economics, Cyber Security and Hacking, and Health Epidemics. No, thank you.

Finally, there were Science and Technological Advancements, Society, and Culture.

Against the backdrop of all of that, some of us were quietly living our lives. (Raises hand). So I chose Culture, and the particular subset, Film, to represent our family decade in review. My background is in the media industry, and they say films reflect the tastes and values of the times, plus I thought it might be interesting to explore the highlights and lessons of each year by overlaying them with the key themes of the films that were buzzworthy.

After all, we can trace the changing status of women, work, equality, and evolving ideas about most anything by analyzing films over the decades. And, it may surprise you to know that in the 2010 decade, nearly all the biggest box office hits were animated or superhero stories, and Disney had their hands in most of them (more about that later).

Without further ado, here’s a look back, and stay tuned to the end, for my thoughts on vision, why it’s essential, and one of the most transformative of all successful life strategies.

2010

Toy Story 3, $1.07B, Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures

With their beloved Andy preparing to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the rest of the toys find themselves headed for the attic but mistakenly wind up on the curb with the trash. Woody’s quick thinking saves the gang, but all but Woody end up being donated to a day-care center. Unfortunately, the uncontrollable kids do not play nice, so Woody and the gang make plans for a great escape.

https://weheartit.com/entry/31256965

2010 Highlights: We closed on our first home together on January 11, 2011, which is to say that in 2010, we were obsessed with choosing a home. We shopped for homes, toured homes, made wishlists, and dream boards, and envisioned our life together. We were two years into our marriage and had already survived cancer. We knew we wanted kids, so we were going big: Four bedrooms, four bathrooms, three-car garage, yard backing to open space, in a great neighborhood, top-rated school district, with room to expand via an unfinished basement.

We ended up purchasing a new build from Canadian boutique builder, Cardel Homes. They were framing already, which meant we got to pick all the options and upgrades, but not make substantial structurial changes. The builder was eager to close out the community, and we had nothing to lose, so we made a low-ball pre-qualified offer with a lot of conditions, and surprisingly (at least to our realtor), they agreed.

What We Learned: For many Americans, a home is your largest purchase and greatest expense. Be prepared to negotiate and know what you can’t live without, what doesn’t matter to you, and where the room is in the middle to negotiate.

What We Would Do Next Time: Negotiate again. Significant savings means instant equity, and the interest rates were low too. If you happen to live in a location where new builds are possible, go for it! There is something wonderful about choosing your preferences, and being the only family to ever live in a home. That said, it also means investing in a lot of things you probably didn’t budget for, lighting packages, a/c potentially, landscaping, window coverings, and appliances.

Do as much as you can before moving in. Ask someone you trust, a contractor, an electrician, or a designer, to walk through with you and help make recommendations and install the little things that will make it more comfortable: dimmer switches, screen doors, ceiling fans, shelving, closet systems, etc. You think you’ll get to it over time, but do it now while it’s the priority, and update it through the years.

2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, $1.34B, Warner Bros. Pictures

A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare for a final battle against Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Harry has grown into a steely lad on a mission to rid the world of evil. The friends must search for the Horcruxes that keep the dastardly wizard immortal. Harry and Voldemort meet at Hogwarts Castle for an epic showdown where the forces of darkness may finally meet their match.

http://www.zimbio.com/Harry+Potter+Movie+Quotes+That'll+Make+You+Feel+Everything+All+Over+Again/articles/PceJdScMS8G/From+'Harry+Potter+and+the+Deathly+Hallows%2C+Part+2'

2011 Highlights: We closed on the house on 1/11/11, an auspicious date, and moved in all month long. Another tip: We ordered almost all of our appliances and furniture, during the previous year’s Black Friday sales and delayed delivery, to maximize our budget.

We enjoyed 25 trips in 2011: Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles for a screening, New York City, Philadelphia for the USC Shoah Foundation Gala, Las Vegas for my birthday, Santa Monica, Boston for Harvard Business School, Chicago, Seattle, LA, Madison, San Francisco, Napa, and the Central Coast, Vegas twice for two boxing weekends, Milwaukee for a Brewers game, a little getaway to Ft. Lauderdale, and a Christmas party in LA. We also hosted three events in Denver.

In between all that, there were lots of hiking, golfing, concerts (including Zach Brown Band at Red Rocks), and gambling and mountain trips, so we were incredibly busy, but the highlight had to be Paris and London at year-end to celebrate NYE 2012.

What We Learned: That two-four trips each month for a year seems nuts when you look at it in aggregate, either in planning mode or as a retrospective, but at the time, it was amazing. We were enjoying marriage, having adventures, and meeting up with friends and family all over the country. We probably would have kept up that pace, careers thriving, healthy hubby, but change was on the horizon.

What We Would Do Next Time: Take just as many trips. Becoming parents and the responsibilities of adulting can really slow you down, so early in your marriage, go places together. Bank a bunch of memories that will sustain you when you don’t have the flexibility, funds, or stamina to go everywhere all the time. And when you are on the go, maximize it. Do everything that’s on your list. No regrets.

2012

The Avengers, $1.52B, Marvel Studios for Walt Disney Studios

When Thor’s evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D., initiates a superhero recruitment effort to defeat the unprecedented threat to Earth. Joining Fury’s “dream team” are Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

http://livebyquotes.com/2012/until-such-time-as-the-world-ends-nick-fury/

2012 Highlights: We traveled to Paris and London to celebrate our marriage before we became parents, and we were pregnant later that January, with twins.

Travel slowed, but essential business travel didn’t stop, and I was huge and uncomfortable and in nesting mode. We made a nursery and a nursing room, and researched, ordered, and prepared.

The babies arrived in early October, and everything changed. I took maternity leave the rest of the year, and it wasn’t even close to enough time, but that’s a discussion for another day. We were in over our heads and deliriously happy, and also delirious and so f*ing exhausted. I’m a pretty good writer, and I struggle to find the words to accurately capture how we felt during that stage, with two hungry babies needing fed and attended to every couple of hours around the clock for weeks. We had no idea what life would be like, but I don’t think we imagined that. Like the travel year before, in retrospect, it seems ludicrous, but we all four survived. Thank God.

What We Learned: Basically, we weren’t prepared in the slightest for one infant, let alone two. We took all the classes, read all the books, saved all the posts, bought all the things, and still, it was one of the greatest tests of our lives.

What We Would Do Next Time: Hire a night nanny, have more real conversations with our friends to prepare, nurse the babies more often, surrender a little more, revel a little more, and stack as much unpaid leave as possible for when paid maternity ran out.

2013

Frozen, $1.28B, Walt Disney Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures

When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer sidekick to find Anna’s sister, Snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), and break her icy spell. Although their epic journey leads them to encounters with mystical trolls, a comedic snowman (Josh Gad), harsh conditions, and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff bravely push onward in a race to save their kingdom from winter’s cold grip.

https://josephine.guitar-pla.net/top-30-inspiring-disney-movie-quotes/

2013 Highlights: It was a year of firsts for all of us. There is nothing like the first year, is there? For the parents, I know you know. For those who aren’t parents, it’s like an unyielding hazing ritual, where you want to succeed so badly, and everytime you get the hang of something, the rules change, and everyone has to readjust. There are so many peaks and valleys, times two.

We took them to Hawaii. I know what you’re thinking. Twin infants on a seven-hour flight? No way. But hear me out, they were immobile, so we wore them in Baby Bjorns, and they mostly napped, ate, and snuggled. They were thrilled to be together and delightful, and everyone on the plane was relieved.

When we last visited Hawaii, I had a vision about baptizing our babies in the ocean there that I couldn’t let go of, and my husband, being the type of guy he is, indulged me. It was so amazing! They attracted so much attention and generosity. At the resort, they played in the library, and outside, they crawled around the croquet and mini golf lawns. We strolled around the islands, took them to the aquarium and the ocean, the pool, and the beach. We rocked together in so many hammocks, and they even experienced their first luau.

What We Learned: That if you decide to do something and plan accordingly, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else. Know yourself, know your family, and do what you want to do. Live your best life. It was a highlight of their early years and always will be. We love that we have those memories and photos.

What We Would Do Next Time: All the things every parent vows. Write it all down, record everything, take more photos, videos, and notes, and be more present and intentional. It’s so hard, when you are so overwhelmed and busy around the clock, but every single bit is priceless.

2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction, $1.1B, Paramount

After an epic battle, a great city lies in ruins, but the Earth itself is saved. As humanity begins to pick up the pieces, a shadowy group emerges to try to take control of history. Meanwhile, an ancient and powerful new menace sets its sights on Earth. A new group of humans, led by Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), helps Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the Autobots rise up to meet their most fearsome challenge yet: a worldwide war of good versus evil.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/506232814338002079/?lp=true

2014 Highlights: What can I say? We had twin toddlers and were pregnant with baby #3, so every day was a marathon and a highlight reel. We were having the time of our lives. We took the twins to Disneyworld for their second birthday. In yet another example of things that sound good at the time, but what were we thinking???, we walked and walked and walked all day long with my big ole belly and a double stroller. At one point, I sat down on a bench to watch them play with daddy and fell asleep right there in the middle of the park with all the chaos around me. He let me sleep for 10–15 minutes too. I didn’t roll off or drool or anything embarrassing.

What We Learned: Just the tip of the iceberg on a lesson we will learn over a lifetime — there are pros and cons to having all of your children so close together in age. One advantage is they are nearly always interested in the same things at the same time, not in this case, but from two years old on, which makes planning and adventures infinitely easier. One disadvantage is that it’s challenging for mom and dad to keep up when they all need you at the same time, and in the early years, don’t they always need you?

What We Would Do Next Time: Still have three babies in two-something years, or maybe even four babies. I tried to talk hubby into one more, but he was scared, and sure, of twins again, and when he put it like that, I was ok with being done too. It’s been a joyous ride, more than we could have wished for. We love how they learn together and from each other. We called our youngest “self-service baby” for a long time. She simply watched the twins and taught herself everything. Still does.

One day, my oldest daughter came into the kitchen and said, “Little sister is ready to start using the potty.” I replied, “Really? How do you know?” to which she said, “I asked her, and taught her already,” and sure enough, she was using the potty, swinging her little feet, humming a song, happy as can be to be “big.”

2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, $2.07B, Lucasfilm for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his young allies face a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order.

https://www.magicalquote.com/movie/star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakens/

2015 Highlights: 2015 looked a lot like 2013 for us. We had a baby, then went to Hawaii for the baptism. I was much, much better at maternity leave this go-round. I didn’t try to multi-task, keep one eye on work, or be productive during any of it. I loved up my babies and wholly focused on being a mom. I took all my email accounts off my phone, so I could text and surf without being pulled anywhere else.

What We Learned: That life can throw you curveballs sometimes, even if you are a super planner. The little one was born with a congenital heart defect. It was so surprising that at least three pediatricians remarked on it before we could appreciate what they were telling us. After that, it was a whirlwind of appointments and assessments, culminating in heart surgery at two weeks old.

It went as well as it could have, and we ended up with a baby who will have a healthy life, which is to say, that her heart condition won’t slow her down, minimize her abilities, or restrict what she can do. That my friends is news that ranks right up there with “your husband is cancer-free.”

What We Would Do Next Time: I don’t know if I fully recovered from having twins when I got pregnant again. I was working full-time, traveling, and chasing after two toddlers and a dog during my pregnancy, and it took its toll. Honestly, I didn’t feel like myself again until the baby was nearly 3! I think if we did it again, we’d pace ourselves, get the nanny earlier and use her more often, maybe try not to take on the world. I was feeling stressed and conflicted about my job, and it turns out that it didn’t matter as much as I thought at the time, so I wouldn’t let it get to me as much either.

2016

Captain America: Civil War, $1.15B, Marvel Studios for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.

https://ficquotes.com/quotes/282/

2016 Highlights: We went to Disneyland twice that year, once in the summer, once near Christmas. The first time, we picked the kids up on their last day of school and drove straight to the airport, hopped on a plane, and were there for dinner. It was a complete surprise and so much fun. They were at the age where everything is pure magic, and we wanted to capitalize. Other highlights included seeing President Obama speak at the Air Force Academy and leaving my job at HBO.

What We Learned: From 2005–2016, we were in a rapid growth time on the personal and relationship front. We went from meeting for the first time to becoming friends, dating, then getting engaged, getting married and honeymooning, then battling cancer, then becoming parents. It was a whirlwind. I had a few promotions and professional milestones during that period too, a Director title and the Harvard thing stand out, but I 2016–2019 will be the years I look back on as tremendous professional growth years.

After our third child, I had a hard time going back to work, and when I did return, I found I had lost all passion for it. Everything felt stale — the same conversations, the same clients, the same challenges, slow growth, mountains of bureaucracy, a looming acquisition, and leadership exits — it was such a stark contrast to the profound and dramatic pace at home.

Most days, I asked myself if what I was doing was worth missing out on my children for, and the answer was often no, but I was the primary breadwinner, so it was a hard truth to embrace, and I felt thoroughly stuck.

We also learned that if you make up your mind about something, the universe has a way of conspiring in your favor, even if the gift comes wrapped in emotional turmoil and hard truths. When I left that fall, I did not have a backup plan, and I was scared, but I felt certain about my decision. We chose not to be frightened about the money and benefits, and focus on the break instead. With that, I didn’t start looking or networking or planning; I just loved my family and breathed deeply. It was restorative and overdue.

What We Would Do Next Time: We took more than a year off as a family. No jobs, just quality time together. We took advantage of the time, and occasions, like when my father-in-law passed, became soulful instead of sorrowful. Our children weren’t yet in elementary school, so it was the perfect time to go places and do things and fill our days with what they chose. We hiked and swam a lot. We learned to ride bikes and read, and bought annual passes for all of our favorite places. It was such a blissful time.

2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, $1.33B, Lucasfilm for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Luke Skywalker’s peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

https://www.magicalquote.com/movie/star-wars-the-last-jedi/

2017 Highlights: It was our year of bliss. From the fall of 2016 to the fall of 2018, we didn’t have jobs. It went so fast though, because our time was so full. We took the kids on their first cruise, a Dreamworks-themed ship (think Trolls, Madagascar, and Shrek), and attended The Masters, which had been on my husband’s bucket list and now I know why. We went to a lot of concerts, threw giant birthday parties, and the kids were on television for the first time.

I started writing again, published my first book, and launched my first blog, which made my heart happy. We worked in the yard, went to the mountains and drank wine when we wanted, scheduled everything at our convenience, and lived the good life.

What We Learned: We were living on severance and savings, and prioritizing time over money. Here’s the tricky thing about money: When consumed with earning it, you spend a lot of it in the pursuit of more. But when you release all that, you suddenly have enough. I’m not a money coach, but this shift can change everything.

What We Would Do Next Time: “If we had it to do all over again, I would have been bolder. I would have rented out our house for 3, 6, 9 months or even a year...” In the introduction of my book, I admit that we still played small, even with that safety net and the urgency of our children’s childhoods. I don’t regret it, because we weren’t living fearlessly at the time, and we had a lot of lessons to learn, but I wish we would have been bolder. That said, if you ever get the opportunity to do anything at all, do everything you’ve ever wanted.

2018

Avengers: Infinity War, $2.05B, Marvel Studios for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVxs9xfyBvc

2018 Highlights: We celebrated hubby’s birthday in San Francisco, our baby turned three, we visited Santa Fe and Vail, and the kids had supporting roles in their first movie. However, the ultimate highlight was the month we spent in the South Pacific to mark our 10th anniversary.

We started in Seattle and cruised to Hawaii, Fiji, several islands nearer Australia, before ending up in Sydney and spending time in the greater area. It was exotic and tropical, thrilling (to be out in the 3-miles-deep sea at night without land anywhere is intense), and so much fun. We hiked through Eucalyptus and Jacaranda forests. We fed kangaroos and ferried all over, from bay to bay, checking out the parks, restaurants, and attractions. We ate so much fish and chips.

What We Learned: That anticipation can be very motivating and clarifying. It was a big trip, the biggest since our honeymoon. We had visas and immunizations to manage, an aging dog to plan for, two schools to coordinate with, and we had to research and book excursions at all of our destinations. It can be challenging to be open-ended with a party of five, so we booked as much as we could in advance, and carved out free time too. In between all that, I launched my first business.

What We Would Do Next Time: The same thing. Longer trips force you to disconnect, to break old habits, and to rise to the occasion. A cruise is perfect for a young family too. There’s no packing and unpacking, and the parents reading this right now know little ones require a staggering amount of gear. We took 300 lbs of luggage for 30 days, 50 lbs each. It was a stunning feat.

Another considerable benefit of cruising is being able to keep a routine. When the parents don’t have to navigate or manage meals, it frees us up to maintain an ideal schedule too. I’d get up each morning and hit spin class or pilates before they woke, just like at home. We could all play at the pool, mini-golf, or they could go to kids club to see their friends, while we read and took classes, so there was a nice balance of busyness and downtime, and we just enjoyed our time together, anticipated the ports, and loved seeing the sights.

Also, you’re never really ready to launch a business, so line up your ducks and go for it!

2019

Avengers: End Game, $2.79B, Marvel Studios for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers — Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.

https://www.magicalquote.com/moviequotes/no-amount-of-money-ever-bought-a-second-of-time/

2019 Highlights: We didn’t travel again until Spring Break to Palm Springs, then Southern California (and yes Disneyland again) in the fall. We were busy with elementary school and pre-K, and b-school for mom in the spring, and another big course in the fall. Dad started a new job in late 2018, so this year, we were all in learning mode, and I was leveling up my business. I have big plans for 2020.

Otherwise, we stuck close to home and had a bunch of staycations — Breckenridge, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Wyoming, and Cripple Creek. We did 23 new hikes last summer before I lost count.

What We Learned: That having vision is essential. I’m building this business to give me the freedom and flexibility to be a mom first. It’s not easy, but trading time for dollars when you’re a mom doesn’t work for me. Our children are too precious for that, and their childhoods are too fleeting.

My goal is to be done with Corporate America, to create a new path for our family, and build a legacy. Overall, I want to hold, protect, and execute on the vision for the life we want, to be the kind of parents we want to be, and to share the marriage we want, but also to stay in the moment as much as possible.

What We Would Do Next Time: Enjoy the ride a little bit more. When I look back on the last decade, I’m in awe of all that we experienced and accomplished, and I’m also taken aback by how, when it wasn’t going well, it was all in our heads. It was all going well. Sure, there were setbacks and hurdles, but it wasn’t insurmountable. We were together and healthy, and that’s all that really matters.

We are so much more trusting and easygoing now. That feels like real progress. If you read my annual letter in previous years, you know I like to quantify everything. I’m proud to say we kept up the streak on all the numbers that matter: Another year cancer-free, two dog walks each day, two hundred + more workouts at CycleBar, plus another 700 followers who read what I write (thank you!).

So What’s it All Mean?

Why does a decade in review matter? And what does Disney know that we don’t know?

Practicing animation.

Pixar

One last story if you will. A few weeks ago, we visited the The Science Behind Pixar exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This immersive experience explores the science, technology, engineering, art, and math concepts used at Pixar Animation Studios every day to bring their beloved films and characters to life.

There were more than 50 interactive elements exploring the filmmaking process — modeling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting, and rendering — delivering an unparalleled view of the production pipeline used by the Pixar artists and computer scientists.

Critics could make the case that the exhibit is yet another branding exercise by Disney, or you could see what we saw, imagination coming to life, a little bit of love, a little bit of ingenuity, a whole lotta technology, with a sprinkling of inspiration on top.

Twenty-four years ago, American audiences turned out to see the first fully computer-animated movie, Toy Story, on Nov. 22, 1995. It was a milestone for animation. The movie was a joint venture between Disney and Pixar, then owned by Apple (and chaired by Steve Jobs). Pixar had been given a $26 million deal for three computer-animated, feature-length movies. Succeeding would mean creating the software and hardware they would need as they went along, and inventing a new kind of movie altogether.

The film won an Academy Award for Special Achievement, as well as nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Score and Song. Jobs told Fortune in Sept. 1995 that Pixar and Disney would break even if the movie was a “modest hit” at $75 million. It made over $361 million worldwide. Buzz and Woody’s story continued for three more films, including Toy Story 3, which was the top box office hit of 2010, earning $1.07B.

The foundation Toy Story set had effects far beyond the franchise. There have been more than 250 computer-animated films released since then. Every story envisioned by the Pixar team requires something that they don’t know how to do, so they invent the technology as they go.

Every story requires something that they don’t know how to do, so they invent the technology as they go.

Disney

In 1993, the year I graduated high school, Disney acquired Miramax. Two years later, Walt Disney Company merged with ABC, which included an 80% stake in ESPN. In 2001, The Walt Disney Company acquired Fox Family Channel, which was failing until it became ABC Family. In 2004, Disney bought the rights to the Muppets. Two years later, they acquired Pixar.

In 2009, Disney became part owners of Hulu and then acquired Marvel Entertainment later that same year. Three years later, they purchased Lucasfilm. In 2016, Disney purchased stock in BAMTech, which laid the groundwork for streaming services launching in 2018, and Disney+, which launched in November. And in March 2019, the acquisition of 21st Century Fox was complete.

Added up, it means Disney has the rights to, or complete ownership of, all our favorite, most profitable, and the most storied franchises of our lifetimes.

I don’t think Disney knew all the steps it had to take over the years to become the (world dominate) Disney we know and love today, but I do think they had a vision to be the best in the world, and could see who they would have to become to actualize that vision.

You

This is my takeaway for you: You don’t have to know all the steps it will take to live the life of your dreams, but you must have a vision for what you want out of your one precious life. It’s the only lifetime that you will ever get, and no matter where you started from, or what you are working with, no matter what baggage you carry, you have to envision what you want and what it will take, and you have to become who you have to be to actualize your vision. Everyone has to do things they don’t know how to do. Please don’t let that stop you.

Take a look at the last decade of your life. Review the highlights, then ask yourself the pressing questions — Was there evolution? Am I closer to what I want? Do I love it, this one wild and precious life? Am I taking the steps and becoming the person I need to be to live the life I want to live? Am I spending my time with the ones I love? What’s missing? Ten years later, does it feel like you are making it happen?

Then look forward to 2029. It will be here before we know it, and although you can’t know or plan for everything, or even understand the technology, so to speak, that you need to build, you can still take steps. We didn’t know what it was to become parents until we were parents. We didn’t know what it was to battle cancer until we were in the thick of it. We didn’t know how much travel meant to us until we got to go places.

But you can get crystal clear right now, if you haven’t already, on what you want, who you want to be, where you want to go, what you want to experience, and what life you want to lead for the next ten years. You don’t have to plan it all, know beyond the next decade, or even fill in the details. It can all be a little fuzzy, but if you can see it, everything that comes up between now and then will feel more purposeful and effortless. That, I know for sure.

You’ll know what opportunities you need to capitalize on; what forks in the road to take and which to pass by, what you need to acquire and what you need to let go of to get there. You can find joy in the journey because you can trust your path. That’s big.

No matter what is happening in the world at large, I hope the next ten years for you and your family are everything you dreamed and so much more. So much more! Thanks for reading my stuff. Happy New Year!

If you liked this, and are a working mom, I’m here for you. Take my fun, and insightful quiz, to get a glimpse into what’s in store for you in 2020.

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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