Last year saw the return of many blockbuster franchises to the big screen with sequels and semi-reboots in the form of Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, Terminator Genisys, and, of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. After about a decade since the last installment, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens has ushered in a big screen resurgence of the Star Wars franchise.
The film brought back original trilogy stars Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) while introducing a new generation of heroes in Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). In the weeks since The Force Awakens debuted in theaters, the film has been met with overwhelming fan support, critical approval, and record-breaking box office success. Now, as The Force Awakens continues to set new records, the cable TV rights for the film have been snapped up.
New York Post is reporting that Starz bought the pay-TV rights for Star Wars: The Force Awakens for $17.5 million, which the publication describes as a "bargain price" since most film rights are purchased based on a formula that includes the movie's box office sales. Starz had first claim to the rights under their distribution deal with Disney that concluded at the end of 2015. According to NY Post, under Disney's new deal with Netflix, The Force Awakens will stream on the service in Canada, and subsequent Star Wars films will stream in the US.
The Force Awakens became the fastest movie to reach $1 billion in international box office sales, recently passing the $1.5 billion mark, also in the shortest amount of time in 16 days. Previously, The Force Awakens broke opening weekend records, including biggest opening weekend gross with $238 million, and it was the first movie to make $100+ million in a single day among other major milestones.
Starz landing the rights to The Force Awakens is likely a big deal for the network, since it has been attempting to compete with other premium cable outlets like HBO for a number of years. Starz has recently been increasing their original programming, with shows like Outlander, Flesh and Bone, and Black Sails. As entertainment analyst Rich Tullo told NY Post, "It's like having [the] Super Bowl to launch other programming."
However, those hoping to see The Force Awakens alongside its sequels and anthology films on Netflix in US, those fans may be disappointed since it doesn't seem that will happen anytime soon. Still, this deal is a good sign for Starz and the future of the premium cable network, which will likely see a boost once it begins airing The Force Awakens. That is, if the box office gross of The Force Awakens is anything to go by.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: New York Post