How Profitable Has Star Wars Really Been for Disney?

In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, which created Star Wars, for over $4 billion. It was a huge amount of money to spend on a movie franchise. Disney hoped that by owning Star Wars, they could make a lot of money. They planned to do this by making new Star Wars movies and TV shows.

We’ve seen different movies and shows turned into video games. Not just video games but also casino games, especially slot machines. For example, the Gordon Ramsey cook was the inspiration behind Hell’s Kitchen slot which is one of the popular casino games for real money online. The same case, Disney had Star Wars themed slots games but unfortunately, these were discontinued in 2017.  

However, Disney seems to no longer be interested in creating slot games. Instead, the company is more interested in selling a lot of Star Wars toys, books, and comics. But has this plan worked? Has Star Wars been as profitable as Disney hoped? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Star Wars Movies Have Made Billions, But Not All Of That Is Profit

Since Disney bought Star Wars, they have released five new Star Wars movies in theaters. These movies have been viral and have made a lot of money. When you add up all the ticket sales worldwide, these movies have made $5.39 billion.

That might seem like Disney is swimming in Star Wars cash. But hold on a moment. That $5.39 billion is not pure profit. To make a big movie like Star Wars, Disney has to spend a lot of money. They have to pay for things like the actors, the special effects, and the advertising.

When you estimate those costs and subtract them from the ticket sales, the profit is less. Experts think that after all the costs, the Star Wars movies have made around $4 billion in profit. That’s still a lot of money, but it’s not as much as the ticket sales number makes it seem.

Star Wars TV Shows Help Drive Disney+ Subscriptions

Disney has also made a lot of Star Wars content for its streaming service, Disney+. There are many Star Wars shows you can only watch on Disney+, like “The Mandalorian” and “Ahsoka.” These shows have been very popular and critically acclaimed.

It’s hard to know exactly how much money the Star Wars shows have made for Disney. With streaming, success is not measured in ticket sales. Instead, it’s measured by how many people sign up for and keep using the service. The Star Wars shows have definitely made people more interested in Disney+.

However, Disney+ overall is not making as much money as Disney would like. They are spending a lot on new shows and movies for the service. The Star Wars shows help, but they are not enough to make Disney+ a big moneymaker yet.

Star Wars Books, Comics, and Toys Bring In More Money

Disney doesn’t just make money from Star Wars through movies and TV shows. They also sell a lot of Star Wars books, comics, and toys.

Since Disney bought Star Wars, they have published over 240 new Star Wars books. These include novels for adults and kids, as well as books that provide background information on the Star Wars universe. When a new Star Wars movie comes out, book sales usually increase as fans want to learn more.

Star Wars comics are also consistently popular. Marvel, which is also owned by Disney, publishes new Star Wars comics every week. This is another steady stream of income for Disney.

Perhaps the most profitable area, though, is toys and merchandise. In 2023, experts calculated that Star Wars was the most valuable toy brand in the world. The Star Wars toy business alone is worth over $260 million to Disney.

Star Wars Is Almost Certainly Profitable For Disney Overall

So, what can we conclude when we put all of this information together? Is Star Wars profitable for Disney? The answer seems to be yes, but there are some caveats.

Star Wars might not look very profitable if we only look at the box office sales and costs of the movies. The ticket sales don’t quite cover the purchase price of Lucasfilm and all the movie-making costs.

But Disney has many other ways of making money from Star Wars. TV shows, books, comics, and especially toys all bring in much money. Considering all these different income sources, Star Wars is almost certainly a profitable property for Disney overall.

To make even more money, Disney plans to refocus on big-screen Star Wars movies. Blockbuster movies tend to drive up sales of books, toys, and other products. So, while Star Wars is profitable now, Disney is betting that more movies will make it even more profitable in the years to come.