The Practical Economics blog has recently posted an article about Disney’s finances with regards to the Star Wars franchise. He starts off the piece with noting some notables:
One of the Proprietor’s favorite procrastination outlets is listening to Star Wars YouTubers carrying on about how Disney has wrecked the franchise. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson are favorite targets.
It’s hilarious, search YouTube for Comic Artist Pro Secrets, Geeks + Gamers, and World Class BS for a great laugh.
The writer does some back-of-the-envelope logic to walk the reader through his reasoning, but his conclusion is this:
The bottom line is that Disney has to date suffered a $2.22 billion loss in 2012 US dollars from its LucasFilm purchase. Certainly not close to recovering its costs as claimed in the media article linked above.
What is also interesting is what would the movies had to have made for Disney to be within striking distance of recovering its costs. Had The Last Jedi and Solo performed as well as The Force Awakens and Rogue One (nominal film profits only), then Disney would still be down US$1.37 billion. Still some work to do but more than possible to break even or better.
To recover such a large purchase price Disney needed its early films to deliver consistently large profits. Unfortunately for Disney it hasn’t managed this.
The financial loss from Solo is well known, but this analysis makes it apparent just how badly The Last Jedi performed. While it was profitable it made far less than Disney needed from films in its flagship Star Wars trilogy. Even The Force Awakens just did barely enough.
Once again, these figures are unlikely to be accurate to the last dollar, but it’s show it’s unlikely Disney will ever recover the cost of its investment in Lucasfilm.
I’m guessing the fading toy and merchandise sales don’t help matters either.
Thanks to Odin’s Movie Blog for the tip.