Breaking Down Disney’s Star Wars Acquisition

By: James Flippin · May 04, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

May the 4th Be With You

In honor of the informal Star Wars holiday, May 4th, let’s jump back to 2012, when Disney (DIS) originally purchased the iconic franchise and other Lucasfilm properties like the Indiana Jones films for $4 billion.

At the time, this marked the fourth-largest acquisition by the House of Mouse. But since then, Star Wars has become the second-largest franchise in the world. In terms of size, Star Wars is only behind Marvel, which is also owned by — you guessed it — Disney.

Breaking It Down

Since the acquisition, Disney has put the Star Wars franchise to work in an effort to expand the Disney empire across three segments.

Films: In the decade since the acquisition, Disney churned out five new Star Wars films, most of which were massive commercial successes. In fact, by the third movie, Disney had already recouped its initial $4 billion investment. And this doesn’t account for the role Star Wars spinoff series, like The Mandalorian, have played in helping the Disney+ streaming service grow.

Parks: Star Wars rides, characters, and lands are now prevalent across Disney Parks. But Disney is quintupling down on the series by building a fifth park in Florida, Force World, which will be exclusively Star Wars-centric. It will be the first Disney World park based on a single franchise.

Merch: From Darth Vader t-shirts to Yoda headbands to the action figures detractors say the franchise was conceived to sell, Disney reportedly rakes in over $5 billion annually from Star Wars merchandise.

Jumping To Lightspeed

The entertainment goliath will likely continue churning out Star Wars consumables until it meets demand and stops making profit. Based on results thus far, you can likely expect more Star Wars-themed movies, shows, and theme park attractions in the years to come.

If your appetite for the Star Wars franchise is insatiable, this may be music to your ears. For others, it could mean you’ll end up paying more for a Disney World ticket — even if the Force is not with you.

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