Star Wars Episode VII Already Predicted To Make $1.2 Billion

By Katey Rich 2013-07-09 12:07:58discussion comments
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Here's something you don't see very often. The Walt Disney Company suffered a major bomb over the weekend, opening The Lone Ranger to a pitiful $48 million 5-day box office, forcing the studio to lose an anticipated $150 million on the big-budget Western. But if you're a Disney stockholder, things are still looking up. According to Variety the studio's stock is up 1.3%. Why? You probably already know the answer: Star Wars.

OK, partial credit goes to Monsters University and Iron Man 3, two huge hits that help soften the blow of The Lone Ranger's failure. But Credit Suisse analyst Michael Senno estimates that Disney will make $733 million in profit-- that's $1.2 billion in global ticket sales-- from Star Wars Episode VII, which means that the company still ought to remain a solid investment. He didn't pull that number out from thin air, of course-- the final Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith, made $850 million worldwide, and of course Disney's last giant hit The Avengers was a huge global success, making $1.5 billion. If anything, $1.2 billion for Star Wars Episode VII might be lowballing it.

As for the rest of Disney's year, I wouldn't start worrying about them just yet. They've got the kid-friendly Cars spinoff Planes coming in August-- a cheap direct-to-DVD film given a last-minute theatrical release, which means the profit margin could be high. After that there's Thor: The Dark World, which will be strutting its stuff at Comic-Con next week, the lavish animated effort Frozen, and then the prestige Oscar-season effort Saving Mr. Banks, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

Star Wars Episode VII isn't set for release until 2015, and maybe even later than that depending on how J.J. Abrams plans it, so obviously that's a long time to wait for investors to get their return. But the potential of a new, good movie in the Star Wars universe has clearly captured imaginations everywhere, not just in this feverish blog world where we all live. What we know for sure about Star Wars Episode VII right now is pretty much nothing, beyond Abrams as director, Michael Arndt as producer and Kathleen Kennedy as the new overseer of Lucasfilm. But speculation has led us pretty much everywhere, from the near-certain return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford to casting notices for a bunch of teenagers to take over the lead role. We'll be paying nonstop attention to Episode VII between now and whenever it opens... why should the stock market be any different?

Want to know what will happen in Star Wars Episode VII? Patton Oswalt's take on it is the best we've seen so far, even if it's completely, utterly impossible.


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