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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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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