The results are in: Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an international box-office hit after making $290 million worldwide.
No, the film didn’t break any records, and it’s probably not going to get a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Rogue One, however, proves Disney’s big bet on buying the Star Wars brand actually worked better than expected, and fans around the world just can’t wait for next year’s big Star Wars film.
Yet how is Rogue One impacting Disney’s stock ($DIS), and what do investors think about the company’s future plans with the brand? Let’s take a look.
Disney bought Lucasfilm for over $4 billion in 2012.
Like their previous purchase of Marvel Entertainment, Disney bought Lucasfilm for the express purpose of making more Star Wars films. This also meant they owned the rights to future Star Wars merchandise, video games, and other Star Wars-related products that generally make lots of money. Oddly enough, they do not own the rights to the original Star Wars film.
Disney plans on releasing one new Star Wars film every year for the foreseeable future.
Starting in 2018, Disney will release three new Marvel films every year. Before that, however, Disney released two Marvel films a year, and each film performed exceptionally well at the box office.
The company wants to replicate this pattern and success with the Star Wars franchise, so they’ll release a “traditional” Star Wars film one year (Episode VII, Episode VIII, etc.) and a movie set in the general Star Wars universe (Rogue One and upcoming prequel films) the next year, alternating years between the two types of Star Wars films.
Rogue One’s success proves Disney can release a non-traditional Star Wars film and still make a ton of money.
With Disney’s Marvel film franchise, the company releases an Avengers movie every several years. Between those films, however, are individual films based on other characters. Some, like Iron Man, are popular, well-known characters. Others, like this fall’s Doctor Strange, aren’t as popular but still sell well because they exist in the Marvel movie universe.
Since Rogue One was a hit at the box office, Disney proved they could use their Marvel approach with Star Wars, albeit on a smaller scale. Films like Rogue One and other “Star Wars Story” films won’t tie into the episodic films, but they use familiar characters, settings, and add to the Star Wars mythos. Apparently, fans are totally okay with this approach, and are willing to pay to see these films.
Investors are happy with Rogue One’s success, and believe in Disney’s ability to release a steady stream of Star Wars films.
Disney’s stock went up after the film’s blockbuster weekend. Investors see it as further proof that Disney’s plan for future Star Wars films can and will work.
There’s always a chance that future Star Wars films won’t perform as well as Rogue One and Episode VII. While audiences haven’t tired of Marvel films in the last decade, they could take some getting used to a constant barrage of films from another franchise. Yet getting people to willingly pay for a prequel is an impressive feat, and hopefully one the company can accomplish for years to come.