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Commemorating Walt Disney, 50 years after his death

Jochen Kürten db
December 14, 2016

The Walt Disney Studios are the most successful film studios in the world. Fifty years after his death, a new book takes a close look at genius cartoon artist and movie pioneer Walt Disney.

Walt Disney at the drawing board
Image: 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The heavy coffee-table book released by the Cologne-based Taschen publishing house shortly before the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney's death gives readers an in-depth look at the famous American illustrator's beginnings.

"I can never stand still," Daniel Kothenschulte quotes Disney in the preface. "I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination," the cartoon illustrator once said about continual learning.

Learning played a role, and so did money, even though Disney is reported to have stated that he doesn't make pictures just to make money, "I make money to make more pictures."

Star Wars Cassian Andor, Jyn Erso,K-2SO
This Star Wars spin-off is an epic action movie, too Image: Lucasfilm 2016/J. Olley

Currently, the Disney Studios' the computer-animated musical film "Moana" is drawing audiences to movie theaters worldwide, soon to be followed by the Star Wars spin-off "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

'All our dreams can come true'

When the Disney Studios look back at 2016 in just a few weeks' time, they can be sure to have reached an all-time record with earnings of about $6 billion, a sum no other studio has earned in just 12 months. That's thanks to the animated films, the live-action "The Jungle Book" and a superhero adventure story from the Marvel universe, "The First Avenger: Civil War."

Woman with golden Mickey Mouse ears
Just this year, a Disney resort opened in ShanghaiImage: Getty Images/AFP/J. Eisele

Sailing wasn't always smooth for the Disney Studios, however. It wasn't until Disney bought the successful Pixar animation studios in 2006, snapped up Marvel three years later, followed by Lucasfilm - the company behind Star Wars - in 2012 that a popular, productive enterprise became the world's most successful film studios.

Add to that a gigantic merchandising industry, amusement parks all over the world, comics, TV stations, travel agencies and much more.

With his signature dive into piles of gold coims, Scrooge McDuck for one would have been overjoyed at the company's good fortunes.