Ever since A New Hope first premiered in 1977, Star Wars has been a bona fide box office juggernaut and one of the most financially successful film series ever. Featuring spectacle tailor made for the big screen, memorable characters, and great storytelling, the franchise sports a cross-generational appeal that few other brands can rival. In the Golden Age of the superhero movie, Star Wars is perhaps the only thing that can draw crowds larger than the latest DC or Marvel film. There's a reason why some thought it was a mistake for Sony and Fox to release Passengers and Assassin's Creed over the holiday frame: they were going to be overshadowed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The Disney era of the galaxy far, far away (which sees annual film releases) offers the Star Wars series numerous opportunities to move up the all-time charts. Following the record-breaking performance of The Force Awakens and Rogue One hitting the high-end of its expectations, the property has now surpassed the James Bond franchise as the third-largest Hollywood franchise in history.
Per the numbers (hat tip Star Wars News Net), the nine theatrically released Star Wars films (including the Clone Wars animated movie) have collectively grossed $7.075 billion, slightly edging out the $7.040 billion of the long-running Bond series, which has 24 official installments to its name. Odds are, Star Wars will maintain this position for a while, since Lucasfilm's well-oiled machine keeps chugging along and has Star Wars: Episode VIII (a $1 billion - $2 billion hit in the making) coming through the pipeline, as well as at least three other movies through 2020. Bond's future is a little more up in the air, since there's currently the matter of distribution rights left to be resolved. There's no telling at this juncture when Bond 25 will be ready for theaters.
The two franchises Star Wars currently trails are J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World ($8.5 billion) and Disney brethren the Marvel Cinematic Universe ($10.9 billion). While the chances of Star Wars surpassing the former are fairly high (two more Star Wars films are currently set for release before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2), it likely will never catch the latter. The MCU is now working on a schedule that sees multiple films premiere each year, with three massive ones planned for 2017. Unless Lucasfilm begins to release two or more movies annually and/or the MCU endures an unforeseeable decline in popularity, Star Wars will forever be trailing the Mouse House's other massive tentpole in terms of box office dollars.
These statistics show that the Star Wars brand is as viable as ever, and Disney's $4 billion investment in Lucasfilm was a wise one. The two films they've released thus far have been hits from both a critical and commercial perspective, establishing a sense of trust between moviegoers and the studio. It's safe to say Lucasfilm has a strong handle on their beloved series, delivering high-quality productions. If that continues, then Star Wars will only continue to grow and thrive for years to come.
Source: Star Wars News Net
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- 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