Not to say that anyone was doubting Disney when the purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas for $4 billion in 2012, but that is still a lot of scratch that needs to be justified. Everyone assumed that the Mouse House would eventually recoup that money based on the international drawing power of the Star Wars franchise and its merchandise, but it’s hard to say if people thought they’d basically make that money back within five years.
That’s basically what’s happened now with the mega-success of the latest film in the franchise, The Last Jedi. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the total tickets sales-to-date for The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and The Force Awakens have surpassed $4.06 billion in worldwide. Force Awakens led the way with a $2.068 billion take while Rogue One earned $1.056 billion worldwide. Still in theaters, The Last Jedi is expected to cross the $1 billion mark this weekend and end the year as the top-grossing release of 2017.
Now, of course, that doesn’t account for the multi-millions that Disney has spent to make and promote these films across the globe. The Force Awakens cost $300 million and The Last Jedi cost $200 million just to make. Also, it doesn’t take into account the fact that Disney doesn’t keep all that money, splitting it with movie theaters and distributors.
However, you could make a case that Disney has offset those costs already based on the franchise’s many ancillary revenue streams, including merchandising sales, animated shows, and theme park attractions.
It should also be noted that this money-churning franchise is only going to continue doing so and quickly. While The Last Jedi is raking in Blu-Ray and VOD millions, Solo: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters in May 2018 (with a John Williams theme tune). And of course, the culminating film in the current Star Wars trilogy will hit theaters on December 20, 2019 to rack up untold billions once more.