The cumulative box office total of the three Star Wars films of Lucasfilm's Disney era has now surpassed the $4 billion price tag the Mouse House paid to acquire the studio. Though we are currently living in the golden age of superhero cinema, the past few years have proven the galaxy far, far away is the king of the multiplex. Beginning with The Force Awakens in 2015, the franchise has put together a stellar commercial run that has seen it clinch the top spot at the domestic box office for three consecutive years.
Though $4 billion is an enormous sum of money, an argument can be made that George Lucas may have undersold, as the Star Wars property is a tremendous asset that generates substantial revenue across a plethora of mediums. The film series, of course, remains the crown jewel of the empire, and just the ticket sales from Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi have ensured Disney they made a very smart investment.
According to THR, the trio of new Star Wars movies has grossed $4.06 billion collectively at the worldwide box office, which is slightly above the $4.05 billion Disney forked over for Lucasfilm five years ago. It's important to keep in mind that this figure is solely for box office performance and does not take into account all of the merchandise that has been sold during this time. Star Wars tie-in products are omnipresent and are frequently hot sellers (especially during the holiday shopping season). When those numbers are taken into account, Disney has earned their money back and then some.
This is only the beginning for Lucasfilm, as they still have numerous tentpoles on the docket. Next summer sees the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and then the Skywalker saga sequel trilogy will conclude with Episode IX in 2019. Additionally, the studio has Indiana Jones 5 on the schedule for 2020, as well as an all-new Star Wars trilogy spearheaded by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. All of these movies should prove to be financially successful, and hopefully each continues Lucasfilm's hot streak in regard to positive reviews. Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi are all Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, establishing the studio as a brand moviegoers can trust. Though any Star Wars movie is going to do well at the box office, the positive word-of-mouth helps in the long run, leading to repeat viewings and strong legs.
One other factor that has to be considered when discussing this box office dynasty is the release window. Lucasfilm found a nice home in December, taking advantage not just of Star Wars' event status, but also minimal competition. Films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Sing have held their own against the might of the galaxy, but the past few holiday seasons have seen Lucasfilm with the one true tentpole in town. It will be interesting to see how Solo's summer premiere impacts its box office numbers, but even with the spinoff dealing with Deadpool 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and The Incredibles 2, it should still be able to hold its own and be another hit for Disney.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018