With the last two years finding Disney dropping two expensive mega-bombs — “John Carter” which hit the studio for $200 million in losses and “The Lone Ranger” expected to wind up in the negative somewhere between $150-190 million — you might think that shareholders and Wall Street types would be getting nervous. You would be wrong. You see, Disney has a little lightsaber in their corner that is glowing so promisingly that people are already beginning to count the money the studio is going to mint on “Star Wars: Episode 7.” Even though it’s not due in theaters until 2015…
Variety reports that even though “The Lone Ranger” tanked on the weekend, Disney’s stock prices went up on Monday, and it’s all due to “Star Wars: Episode 7.” So how much cheddar is this going to pour on the crisp nachos that is Disney’s bank account? According to Credit Suisse’s Michael Senn: $1.2 billion in box office, plus whatever ungodly amount more from merchandising, with a staggeringly precise figure of $733 million in profits predicted… just from the first film.
Ordinarily, we’d go on about how predicting box office for a movie that’s due in two years is sort of the worst — okay, it is — but really, it’s not a matter of if “Star Wars: Episode 7” will cross $1 billion, it’s by how much. This is a franchise that can keep serving up diminishing returns, and fans will gripe, complain, sign up for boycotts and then put on their Boba Fett t-shirt and line up on opening day to see whatever is being dished up next.
If anything, we can only imagine that behind-the-scenes, the pressure on J.J. Abrams and co. to deliver an experience that not only pleases fans but hits the four quadrant sweet spot Disney needs is growing. It’s interesting to note that the prediction by Senn in box office dollars is less than the $1.5 billion earned by “The Avengers” — has Marvel taken over as the most valuable cinematic brand at Disney? We’ll see, but something tells that if Abrams hits it out of the park, that $1.2 billion figure could be much, much more.