Disney CEO Bob Iger states the studio will not release any future Star Wars movie as an exclusive on the Disney Plus streaming service. Though nothing's been officially dated yet, Lucasfilm is actively developing a new slate of films for the post-Episode IX era. These projects include Rian Johnson's trilogy and a series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss. Both are set to be separate from the classic Skywalker saga and blaze new trails for the galaxy far, far away.
Lucasfilm is also going to take advantage of the new Disney Plus platform via live-action Star Wars television shows such as The Mandalorian and the Rogue One prequel starring Cassian Andor. While fans are very much excited to see what those entail, some can't help but wonder if the streaming service could also be home to some movies set in a galaxy far, far away. But apparently, that is not in the cards and Star Wars films will continue to be theatrical events.
In an interview with Barron's (hat tip Star Wars News Net), Iger addressed the possibility of Star Wars movies debuting on Disney Plus, saying the budgets for those works essentially prohibit them from being for the streaming service:
“Almost every movie the studio makes is a $100 million-plus movie, and we’re not looking to make movies at that level for the service. We’re looking to invest significantly in television series on a per-episode business, and we’re looking to make movies that are higher budget, but nothing like that. We wouldn’t make a Star Wars movie for this platform. When everybody goes out on the weekend and you have a movie that opens up to $200 million, there’s a buzz that creates that enhances value. We like that. And eventually the movies we’re making are going to [end up on] the service.”
This will surely be disappointing for those holding out hope Disney Plus could be an outlet for a possible Solo sequel or the long-rumored Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff movie, but Iger's stance makes a good deal of sense. Even though Solo underwhelmed at the box office last summer, Disney's four Star Wars movies to date have collectively grossed nearly $5 billion worldwide in ticket sales, easily turning a profit on the Mouse House's Lucasfilm purchase. Episode IX is poised to exponentially raise that total when it comes out in December, so as long as Disney and Lucasfilm are smart about how they manage the Star Wars films moving forward (i.e. budget control and finding lucrative release date windows), the franchise will continue to be a massive draw at the multiplex for years to come. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have the second and third highest opening weekends of all-time, respectively, and Rogue One's debut ranks as the seventeenth largest. If Star Wars was in a prolonged commercial slump, then an argument could be made Disney Plus would be worth experimenting with, but right now there's no need.
From a certain point of view, Star Wars might benefit from producing mid-budget films that would be perfect for a streaming service like Disney Plus, but the franchise should be fine sticking with Iger's model. Remember, Solo originally cost roughly $125 million before extensive reshoots caused the price tag to skyrocket towards $250 million. If that initial $125 million figure is the baseline for the Johnson trilogy and Benioff & Weiss' series, then the new Star Wars movies will be in great position to thrive.
Source: Barron's (via SWNN)
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019