Star Wars: A Tidal Wave of Money Awakens

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I got curious last night about whether movie theaters had to pay more to show Star Wars than they do for other movies. The answer is yes:

Theaters are under extra pressure now because Disney is demanding a giant box-office slice: “well north of 60 percent” of each ticket, B. Riley & Co. media analyst Eric Wold estimated, compared to an average of about 53 percent for all films since 2008….Disney is also requiring theaters keep the movie playing on large screens for four weeks at a minimum, longer than studios generally demand, Wold said. And because Disney owns some of the world’s most powerful film franchises — including the superheroes and animated universes of Marvel and Pixar — no theater wants to face the consequences of scuttling the premiere.

Over the next couple of weeks, I suspect I’m going to be asking again and again a question that’s been on my mind for a long time: how did Disney manage to buy the Star Wars franchise for only $4 billion? Surely it’s worth 20x earnings, and surely it delivers more than $200 million in profit per year. Right? What am I missing here?

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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