business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Nothing like a built-in audience.

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that the seventh installment in the Star Wars series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, scheduled to be released on December 17, already has sold more than $50 million in tickets.

It is widely expected, the story says, that the new Star Wars film will easily break the opening weekend sales record ($209 million) set just last summer by Jurassic World. And the only question about whether it will pass Avatar to be the top-grossing film of all time seems to be whether it takes off in China and Russia, where moviegoers don't have the same emotional connection to the series as others.

And this doesn't even factor in all the money that'll be made in merchandising tie-ins.

There is, however, a potential downside to the movie's probable success - which is that other movies scheduled for Christmas releases won't get the kind of attention and ticket sales that they need to be successful. Which doesn't worry Disney, which is producing and releasing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and now must be looking at its $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm - which owns not just the Star Wars franchise, but also Indiana Jones - as the bargain of the century.

It is, indeed, an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: