When it comes to Disney movies, the first thing that usually comes to most people’s minds is their animated classics. However, Disney puts out many more movies, every year, that aren’t animated.

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While Disney animated movies are the ones that usually dominate the box office, in 2012 alone, the company released several DCOMs, live-action movies, and even launched The Avengers. Every movie might not have been a hit, but together, they made 2012 a very profitable year for the House of Mouse.

Frenemies – Released January 13th, 2012

The cast of the DCOM Frenemies outside

Kicking off Disney’s slate of movies in 2012 was the Disney Channel Original Movie, Frenemies. Not only was it one of Disney Channel’s first anthology movies, but it was also kids’ movie based on a novel of the same name.


Frenemies tells three intertwined stories that all explore friendship and how it can turn into a frenemy situation. The stories include a boy and his dog who become frienemies, two BFFs who let a job get in the way of their relationship, and two lookalikes who switch lives.

Radio Rebel – Released February 17th, 2012

Debby Ryan as Tara in Radio Rebel

While Radio Rebel might have premiered on Disney Channel in February 2012, the movie isn’t actually considered a DCOM. Still, the movie, which was was based on a novel, starred one of Disney Channel’s biggest stars at the time: Debby Ryan.

The movie follows Tara (Ryan), a young teen who starts working at her high school’s radio station. Despite being shy, Tara falls in love with the job and starts to change the station, much to the dismay of her school’s principal.

John Carter – Released March 9th, 2012

Taylor Kitsch as John Carter

While Disney has a history of performing well at the box office, John Carter hurt that reputation and has gone on to be one of the biggest box office bombs of all time. Since the movie was one of the most expensive ever made and flopped, Disney canceled the subsequent sequel that was originally planned.

The movie centers on John Carter, a Civil War veteran who wakes up on the surface of Mars. As if that’s not jarring enough, he quickly gets pulled into an epic war between the planet’s inhabitants.

Chimpanzee – Released April 20th, 2012

Chimpanzee holding a leaf in Disney Nature's Chimpanzee

One of the Walt Disney Company’s most underrated studios is Disneynature. Dedicated to nature documentaries, Disneynature typically releases one full-length movie a year around Earth Day. They also donate a portion of the opening weekend box office profits to a charity that matches the subject of the documentary.

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In 2012, the studio released Chimpanzee. The documentary centered around the story of Oscar, a young chimpanzee who finds himself alone until he is adopted by another chimpanzee in the area.

The Avengers – Released May 4th, 2012

The Avengers assembled to fight in The Avengers 2012

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a cultural phenomenon now, it was just getting started back in 2012. In fact, The Avengers marked only the sixth movie in the MCU and the first to unite the team. It went on to become the first Marvel movie to earn $1 billion in ticket sales.

The Avengers begins when Loki, Thor’s evil brother, gets access to an unlimited power source. Fearing the safety of the world, Nick Fury brings together the best superheroes he can find, and thus The Avengers are born.

Let It Shine – Released June 15th, 2012

The cast of the DCOM Let It Shine

Disney Channel was busy in 2012 and Let It Shine was yet another DCOM that premiered that year. The movie is a retelling of the 1987 play Cyrano de Bergerac and starred several actors who have now become familiar faces, like Tyler James Williams and Trevor Jackson.

Let It Shine centered on Cryus, a teenage choir director who has a talent for writing rap lyrics under a fake name. On top of keeping his rap interest a secret, Cyrus also must compete against his best friend to win the affection of Roxie.

Brave – Released June 22nd, 2012

Merida from Brave smiling

Known for releasing one animated movie a year, Pixar’s 2012 release was BraveThe movie marked several firsts for Pixar, including being the studio’s first Princess movie and the first feature-length Pixar movie to be directed by a woman.

Brave centers on Merida, the stubborn and courageous daughter of Scottish King Fergus and Queen Elinor. When her independence is threatened, Merida turns to a mysterious witch in the hopes of getting her mother on board with her plans to break tradition. However, the magic goes wrong, causing Queen Elinor to transform into a bear.

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green – Released August 15th, 2012

Timothy making a kite in The Odd LIfe Of Timothy Green

Despite being a powerhouse when it comes to animation and its franchises, Disney live-action movies tend to struggle at the box office. That was the case with The Odd Life of Timothy Greenwhich turned a modest profit but never reached international success or praise.

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The Off Life of Timothy Green is based on a story by Ahmet Zappa and tells a heartwarming fantastical story. After being unable to conceive their own child, Cindy and Jim Green bury a box with what they hoped their child would be like in their backyard. Later, a boy named Timothy appears at their doorstep, possessing all the qualities they hoped for.

Frankenweenie – Released October 5th, 2012

Victor and Sparky in Frankenweenie

The Walt Disney Company isn’t known for its stop-motion movies, but since 2012 marked a resurrection of the animation technique, Disney jumped at the opportunity to participate. And who better to create Disney’s first stop motion movie in years than Tim Burton.

Inspired by the legendary tale of Frankenstein, Frankenweenie centers on young Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with science, Victor uses his knowledge to resurrect his family dog when he passes away. Victor’s excitement dwindles quickly when his classmates take advantage of his experiment and start bringing to life pets and creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Wreck-It Ralph – Released November 21st, 2012

Ralph and Vanellope fist bumping in Wreck-It Ralph

Disney’s last movie of the year was released by the beloved Walt Disney Animation Studios. Wreck-It Ralph marked the studio’s 52nd animated feature film and has gone on to become an impressive franchise for the company.

Wreck-It Ralph centers on Ralph, an arcade game villain who is tired of constantly being seen as the bad guy. Determined to prove he can be a hero, Ralph abandons his game and tours the other games in the arcade. However, his mission has cataclysmic effects on some of the other games.

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