This weekend saw Star Wars fans around the world celebrating the unofficial Star Wars celebration day (get it? May the FOURTH be with you?). Here at Cherries, we didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Fortunately, Star Wars is a major player even in our particular corner of the galaxy: the stock market. As true fans know, the Star Wars universe goes well beyond the movies, including books, tv shows, games, comics and more. With the release of the final installment of the Star Wars saga late this year, it may be possible to see the influence of Star Wars in a number of different places on the market:
Disney: the Owner of the Franchise
Since Disney made a deal to buy Lucasfilm in 2012, the Star Wars franchise has more than made back its purchase price. And this year, it will have even more opportunities to keep the money rolling in to shareholders’ pockets. As is appropriate for the owner of such a groundbreaking, and valuable, piece of property, Disney is thinking outside the box and finding creative ways to cash in.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
First and foremost, of course, is the new Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker, slated for release on December 20th, 2019 just in time for the Christmas movie season. This movie is being promoted as the truly final episode of the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies, although serious fans will be the first to point out that this doesn’t rule out stand-alone movies in the future. Nonetheless, the hype is big. Even though most of the revenue will probably come in 2020, the hype may be enough to start pushing Disney’s stock up before the lights dim.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
But Disney isn’t just a passive owner of Lucasfilms. They’re incorporating the Star Wars movies into the Disney brand in exciting ways for both fans and shareholders. The new Star Wars theme park, Galaxy’s Edge, will be opening up at Disneyland in June and in Disneyworld not long after that. Every week reveals new details, including Star Wars-themed restaurants, hotels, and rides that are supposed to be out of this world, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Streaming TV: The Mandalorian
This coming November is the launch of Disney+, Disney’s new streaming service. With all the old Disney classics, plus Disney Channel content, it has the potential to attract a wide range of subscribers. Not to mention that Disney now owns a number of franchises that attract very devoted followers of their own, including the Marvel Comics Universe and Star Wars. The Mandalorian is an original Star Wars spinoff show being developed specifically for Disney+ that could draw in a lot of viewers who may not have been interested in the kind of content more typically associated with Disney.
Other Stocks on the Market
You don’t see a lot of local mom-and-pop movie theaters anymore. Today, the vast majority of in-theater movie watchers see their movies in multiplexes, owned by a few large companies, like AMC and IMAX. A movie with as much hype as the final Star Wars episode could bring in a lot of extra revenue. These companies even have ways to build hype more by hosting special promotions and events to draw viewers to their own theaters.
Merchandising: Action figures, games, video games
The Star Wars movies may be the main attraction but Star Wars content includes TV shows, comic books, and even novels that are part of the Star Wars canon. But the big money is in merchandising. While Disney may have the theme parks, other companies can cash in on toys and games. Hot Wheels, owned by Mattel, has the rights to produce vehicles based on the Star Wars Universe while Hasbro holds the license to create a whole range of action figures, toys, and games. Electronic Arts (EA) is only about halfway through the 10-year licensing deal that allows it to develop Star Wars games for Xbox, PlayStation, and computers.