October 4, 2014 – Last night’s debut of the animated series, Star Wars: Rebels, on the Disney Channel was the first official roll-out of many Star Wars productions from the Disney empire. Starting in December, 2015, Disney will release at least one new Star Wars movie a year. The juggernaut will include new novels, comic books, videogames, and theme park attractions in the years to follow.
Disney’s goal (beyond making gobs of money) is to target a primarily younger, male audience, which has been in jeopardy of drifting away from the Disney/Lucasfilm orbit ever since the tepid prequels came out (1999-2005). Disney seeks to re-ignite the fading passion of Star Wars’ older fans – and to introduce a new generation to all things Star Wars-related.
In terms of movie revenue alone, the Star Wars franchise ranks third behind Harry Potter (No. 2) and Marvel Studios (No. 1):
► MARVEL STUDIOS: Total U.S. box office receipts ($2.94 billion) after ten movies (latest film: Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014)
► HARRY POTTER: Total U.S. box office receipts ($2.39B) after eight movies (latest film: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II, 2011)
► STAR WARS: Total U.S. box office receipts ($2.26B) after seven movies (latest film: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 2008)
Disney purchased Marvel Studios in 2009 and acquired Lucasfilm in 2012.
If Disney is successful (and we hope they are), then expect new merchandise to begin rolling out fast and furious as Disney capitalizes on its Lucasfilm acquisition.