Live action films, animated features, Star Wars and the return of Pixar!

Walt Disney Studios will release 12 movies in 2015, including the first Star Wars installment since 2005.

The company's slate, which it summed up in a preview recently, doesn't veer too far from the strategy the studio has been running with over the past several years.

For example, Monkey Kingdom will be the next creature feature from the Disneynature banner after Bears and Chimpanzee, while Niki Caro's McFarland, USA will mark the studio's next lower-budgeted sports film after this year's Million Dollar Arm.

In March, Cinderella will get the live-action treatment, the way Disney brought fantasy characters like Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland to the bigscreen. Cinderella is directed by Kenneth Branagh and features Lily James (Downton Abbey) in the lead.

Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book will be a live-action retelling of another literary classic – and Disney toon – when it bows in the fall.

Marvel Studios will kick off the summer with Avengers: Age Of Ultron in May. The sequel will once again feature the team-up of superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, with some new additions.

Ant-Man will introduce another hero in an effort to launch a new franchise in July. Marvel will start releasing three movies in 2017. In between, there's Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney as a jaded scientist who teams with a teen to discover a secret world.

The sole movie that Disney will release for DreamWorks Studios will be Steven Spielberg's still-untitled spy thriller starring Tom Hanks. That's after this year's Need For Speed and The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Pixar will return, after sitting out all of 2014, with two films – both original titles not based on an existing franchise: Inside Out, from Monsters, Inc and Up helmer Peter Docter; and The Good Dinosaur. After Frozen and Big Hero 6, Walt Disney Animation Studios will not have a film to release in 2015.

Disney ends the year on Dec 18 with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first of new Star Wars films through the Mouse House's acquisition of Lucasfilm.

The Force Awakens is expected to bolster the studio's offerings through sequels and spinoffs the way Marvel launched a series of superhero franchises for the company, which benefitted the rest of Disney's divisions.

Also of note: Lucasfilm's animated Strange Magic starts off the year in January. The toon, directed by sound designer and re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom from a story by George Lucas, revolves around goblins and fairies that meet for the first time. The film already had been in production when Disney bought Lucasfilm for US$4bil in 2012.

Walt Disney Studios generated around US$3.4bil at the worldwide box office in 2014 through the release of 13 movies. Its top earner was Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy, followed by Maleficent and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, another hit for Marvel.

Overall, the studio posted its second highest year on record domestically, internationally and globally, earning US$1.58bil domestically and US$2.77bil overseas from 17 films, giving it the No.2 market share behind Twentieth Century Fox.

Three of the studio's new releases – Guardians, Maleficent and The Winter Soldier – surpassed US$700mil globally for the second year in a row. — Reuters

The full slate of Walt Disney Studios releases in 2015:

Jan 23: Strange Magic (Lucasfilm)

Feb 20: McFarland, USA (Disney)

March 13: Cinderella (Disney)

April 17: Monkey Kingdom (Disneynature)

May 1: Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Marvel)

May 22: Tomorrowland (Disney)

June 19: Inside Out (Pixar)

July 17: Ant-Man (Marvel)

Oct 9: The Jungle Book (Disney)

Oct 16: The Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Spy Thriller (DreamWorks)

Nov 25: The Good Dinosaur (Pixar)

Dec 18: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm)