The Star Wars franchise is the most successful movie franchise of all time ...
making $6,342,000,000 at the box office, $12,242,000,000 in toy sales, $4,375,000,000 in computer game sales and much more.
From the beginning, Star Wars was a money-making machine, this relatively low budget film costing just $11,000,000 to make was the brainchild of director George Lucas. His vision combines the genres of sci-fi and fantasy brilliantly with epic space battles and larger than life heroes and villains with magical powers (with the help of the force). But George Lucas did originally find it a difficult film to arrange the funding he needed to make his vision a reality, the concept was turned down by United Artists and Disney before being taken up by 20th Century Fox with little enthusiasm.
The deal to make Star Wars forfeited both the intellectual property rights to Star Wars George Lucas who was only paid $150,000 to write/produce and direct the feature film. George Lucas`s main priority was to be able to make a sequel even in the event of 20th Century Fox passing up on the option, as he always envisaged it as having multiple parts. As well as the rights of subsequent star wars movies, George Lucas would also end up keeping the rights for merchandising, these key decisions would end up netting George Lucas billions of pounds, and although Star Wars was a huge success for 20th Century Fox this deal would still be considered one of Hollywood`s biggest business mistakes. See below a full breakdown of Star Wars the money-making machine:
When the Star Wars was released in 1977 it was a huge box office success making $775 million ($461 in the USA, $314 internationally) this is equivalent to $3.132 billion after adjusting for inflation. George Lucas would also make a huge profit with all the Star Wars merchandise released from figures to lunch boxes as well as big brands licensing the Star Wars trademark for commercials and promotions.
For the second movie, The Empire Strikes Back there was much more enthusiasm for the project with a bigger budget and more hype the second part of the trilogy would not disappoint both with the critics and the box office. Costing $18 million to make the film would again for a very sound investment for 20th Century Fox bringing in $538 million from the box office, again George Lucas would earn very well from his merchandising rights.
The last film in the trilogy Return of the Jedi would again prove financially sound netting $475 million at the box office with a budget of 32.5 million budgets, again an astounding financial success.
Return of the Jedi was the last major Star Wars feature film for 16 years before George Lucas would revisit the series bringing out 3 more prequels. In the meantime, Star Wars did not disappear the public craving grew and the sci-fi franchise would create numerous spins offs from TV shows, computer games and lots and lots of merchandised goods.
The three prequels did receive a mixed reception from fans and critics, but the financial bottom line was still as strong as ever, making nearly two and a half billion dollars at the box office.
In October 2012 George Lucas would release the intellectual property rights of the Star Wars `to Disney for $4.05 billion, this has already proven to be an excellent investment with the release of the first feature film The Force Awakens making the money back on its own grossing just over $4 billion pounds at the box office and much more with merchandising, DVD Sales / Digital sales and licensing. Disney`s second feature film Rogue One was released a year later and would again gross over $2 billion at the box office making the purchase of the franchise a huge bargain.
Disney has a new feature film released every year with The Last Jedi due out at Christmas set to make more billions for the movie corporation along with other spin-off promotions due out in the future over the years in the future.
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