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Market Research


Are we ready for Star Wars?

There are at least six movies and a TV series in the works


Disney has announced "at least" three Star Wars spin-off movies, in addition to the new trilogy with the first installment to be released in 2015. These movies form part of the universe of the franchise, but will be independent, in a strategy similar to the Marvel universe releases.

So we will have plenty of Star Wars, with at least one theatrical release each year. For starters, episodes VII, VIII, and IX will arrive in 2015, 2017 and 2019, directed by J. J. Abrams. The spin-off movies will debut the years without trilogy premieres. Disney could be working in one about a young Han Solo, the smuggler played by Harrison Ford in the original trilogy; another on the bounty hunter Boba Fett; a third on the youth of Yoda, and a rumoured fourth about jedi knights, maybe directed by Zack Snyder, responsible for the recent Man of Steel.

All this coul add up to seven films from 2015. But there is more: maybe even three new TV series. The animated series Star Wars Rebels premieres on Disney XD and Disney Channel in autumn, with adventures located between episodes III and IV. Production is underway on another animated comedy, Star Wars Detours, set in the same time and without any release date confirmed, although there are already 39 produced and 62 written episodes. Disney is rumoured to be also working on a live action series (or miniseries), that might be what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is for the Marvel universe.

But is the market ready for three series and seven films in the next (maybe) six or eight years? Taking a cue from Marvel, it seems so. This superheroic universe also property of Disney has released nine films between 2008 and 2012 (and that excluding the Spiderman and X-Men films), and has recently become the highest grossing franchise in history, ahead of Harry Potter. Moreover, this universe has two films in the top ten: The Avengers (3) and Iron Man 3 (5).

To date, Star Wars is the fifth highest grossing franchise in history, and in regards to licensing is one of the most solid and enduring brands. In fact, it has generated sales of $27 billion, with only (I mean, “only”) $4 billion coming from the box office. Revenues from toys reach $12 billion, DVD sales total 3.78 billion, video games reach $2.9 billion, and books have recorded sales of $1.82 billion, while other licensed products have been sold for $625 million .

And all this before Disney bought the brand in 2012, recording 80% of the industry revenue in North America. According to Variety and considering the power of the brand and the business momentum that a company like Disney can provide, Episode VII could reach revenue of $1.2 billion and become one of the five highest grossing films in history.

So we have Star Wars for years. Haters of the franchise (indeed, there are some of them) will need earplugs and analgesics, because the premieres are coming with the rhythm and volume of the Imperial March by John Williams.

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