The 10 theatrically released installments of the Star Wars film franchise (including 2008's animated offering, The Clone Wars) have combined to outgross the Harry Potter series at the worldwide box office. Ever since the galaxy far, far away first premiered in 1977, Star Wars has been at the forefront of the pop culture zeitgeist, achieving popularity few other brands have seen. That was one of the driving forces behind Disney's decision to purchase Lucasfilm in 2012, reviving the dormant property by distributing a new movie annually. The renaissance started back in 2015 with The Force Awakens, and the Mouse House has been rolling in the dough ever since.
Acquiring Lucasfilm and all its assets for the grand sum of $4 billion, it took Disney only three tentpoles to make that money back (not to mention, copious amounts of merchandise sales). Superheroes and comic book adaptations may be the talk of the town, but Star Wars has become a box office dynasty lately, with three straight $1 billion hits (Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi) that ended their respective runs as the highest-grossing film of the year on the domestic charts. That success means Star Wars is climbing up some all-time ranks, and it's just passed another famous fantasy series.
According to Star Wars News Net, all of the Star Wars movies have cumulatively brought in $8.55 billion globally, narrowly edging out the $8.53 billion amassed by the (to date) nine entries in the Harry Potter franchise. J.K. Rowling's cinematic wizarding world consists of the eight adaptations of her original books, plus spinoff/prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. A sequel to Fantastic Beasts, The Crimes of Grindlewald, will hit multiplexes this fall. Star Wars is now the second-highest grossing film franchise ever.
This small gap between franchises will undoubtedly increase well before Grindlewald opens in November. The Last Jedi has only been playing for three weekends and still has a long way to go before closing. Estimates suggest it will finish with approximately $1.6 billion worldwide (it's currently at $1.04 billion). Additionally, Lucasfilm will unveil Solo: A Star Wars Story in May, which should do well commercially. Unsubstantiated rumors indicate Disney is preparing for it to flop, but the anthology ranks among the most anticipated movies of the year, a positive sign for its prospects. Star Wars will put more of a stranglehold on its second place spot when J.J. Abrams' Episode IX debuts in December 2019. There's no word on when the third Fantastic Beasts movie will premiere.
Unfortunately for Lucasfilm, they are going to have to settle for the silver medal, as they'll perpetually trail fellow Disney cash cow the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Seventeen films in, the MCU has brought in an astounding $13.5 billion globally, and that number will only rise as we make our way through 2018. Marvel is now in the business of releasing three new movies per year, with Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp on the docket over the next six months. Lucasfilm is content with one new Star Wars annually, which has worked out just fine for Kathleen Kennedy and company. They could up their output one day, but this isn't a competition.
Source: Star Wars News Net
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018