Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to put up some serious box office business. This much is true. But exactly how much money will it bring in for the mouse house as they release their first movie from Lucasfilm? The expectations have to be high. The expectations have to be insane. Still, it’s looking like The Force Awakens will bring back a fairly substantial return on Disney’s investment, as some experts are claiming the film could bring $2.7 billion in profit.
That’s a lot of scratch. That’s also a fairly big chunk of the $4 billion that Disney paid to buy Lucasfilm in the first place. To make up more than half of the purchase price on a single film has got to be a pretty good deal from an accountant's perspective. With several more movies already in production, it pretty much guarantees that Disney will make their money back, and then start to reap serious profits on the deal. At the same time, Hollywood is a business and if there’s an expectation of bringing in $2.7 billion, somebody somewhere is going to wonder if $2.8 billion is possible. One director, who knows a thing or two about making blockbuster movies, understands the pressure involved. Steven Spielberg told 60 Minutes that director J.J. Abrams is under tremendous pressure to bring out a huge movie this week, and that it’s virtually impossible for him to actually succeed.
There's a lot of pressure on J.J. to start paying Disney back for the franchise they bought from from George Lucas.
J.J. Abrams, himself, acknowledges in the same interview that no matter where the bar is set, there are some who are going to feel that The Force Awakens landed underneath it... no matter how successful the movie ends up being. He tells 60 Minutes:
You just know that there will be people, no matter what you do, that will have issues with some aspect. You just know there is some number that is being thrown out there that will not be hit. You just know.
With all the expectations surrounding the film, it’s fairly likely that something will not be met. There are those who believe that the movie will have the biggest opening weekend in the history of the movie business. This would mean breaking $200 million in opening business in a month that’s never seen a movie break $90 million. Even Disney, itself, is trying to roll back the opening-weekend expectations because they’ve reached a point where not becoming the biggest movie ever may be viewed as a failure. The $2.9 billion number is obviously a total for all aspects of business around The Force Awakens, not just the movie receipts but merchandising, and licensing as well. Ultimately, however, it all comes back to the movie. If the toy sales for a certain action figure don’t meet expectations, it will be because that character wasn’t good enough in the movie.
Of course, there is also the distinct possibility that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will turn out to be the biggest movie ever made. It could completely destroy every box office record the world has ever seen. Just how big do you think Star Wars will be?