While everyone is still trying to predict what the opening weekend box office numbers might be for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — $200 million? $250 million? $300 million? — Disney is trying to play down expectations. Partially because, as chairman Alan Horn says, it’s “uncharted territory,” but also probably because it’s only one part of a much bigger equation. At the end of the day, it appears whatever the movie earns in ticket sales will only be a slice of bigger financial cake.
Variety reports that analyst Tim Nollen of Macquarie Securities predicts that the first year following the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is expected to generate $5 billion dollars in franchise merchandise revenue. To put that figure in perspective, that’s one-quarter of the $20 billion in “Star Wars” revenue the brand has manufactured in total across 38 years. So, what’s Disney’s cut?
While they don’t reveal their take, it’s estimated that Disney takes 10% of merchandise sales, which means they have $500 million dollars coming their way. That’s more than double the $215 million/year that Lucasfilm was earning when Disney bought the company. And part of the reason for the bigger than expected haul, besides a new movie to help push toys and duct tape and pajamas and cereal boxes, is that the film is being built with both men and women in mind, young and old.
” ‘Star Wars’ was always a boys thing and a movie that dads took their sons to, and though that’s still very much the case, I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers take their daughters to as well,” director J.J. Abrams told “Good Morning America.”
So, the Force will be strong, both at the box office and wherever your officially licensed “Star Wars” products are sold, which, these days, is everywhere.