True Cost Of Disney-Era Star Wars Makes Franchise Look Like a Giant Money Sink
An in-depth analysis of the financial returns produces a figure that is drastically different from the publicly stated budget.
Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most famous franchises in history, with millions of fans around the world.
Since its birth in 1977, when no one but George Lucas believed in its success, Star Wars has grown to truly enormous proportions, encompassing every possible media format.
All of this has made it an extremely coveted prize for Disney, which bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012 and has since produced five feature-length Star Wars films, among countless other projects.
Given the buzz that each new film in the franchise has generated upon its release, you might think that the costly deal has paid off handsomely in the end, but perhaps it's not as good as it seems.
According to The Numbers, the combined publicly stated budget for Episodes VII-IX and two spin-off films is around $1,318,000,000, which doesn't look too bad compared to the combined box office gross of $5,917,253,898.
However, according to an investigation by the YouTube channel Valliant Renegade, in order to take advantage of the UK's film tax credits, Disney had to use separate business entities in the UK, where the new Star Wars films were shot.
This brings us to Foodles Production (UK) Ltd. (Episode VII), Lunak Heavy Industries (UK) Ltd. (Rogue One), Space Bear Industries (UK) Ltd. (Episode VIII), Stannum 50 Labs (UK) Ltd. (Solo) and Carbonado Industries (UK) Ltd. (Episode IX).
Each of these production companies was behind each of the Disney Star Wars films, and by looking at their financial returns, it is possible to see the true cost of the projects.
According to the channel's calculations, which take into account the GBP/USD exchange rate, the total production cost of five Star Wars films was $2,290,000,000, not including marketing costs, which were undoubtedly substantial and may have pushed the figure up to around $2,890,000,000 or even higher.
Considering that Disney's box office take was $2,840,000,000 (as a certain percentage, depending on the country, goes to theaters and other parties), the films barely broke even, if they did.
The British film tax credit of $384,000,000 reduced the cost to about $1,900,000,000 without marketing costs.
Given the $4.05 billion price tag Disney paid for Star Wars, the financial situation for the feature films in the franchise doesn't look particularly good.
Of course, there are many unaccounted for factors such as merchandise sales, TV show costs, and more.
For a more detailed analysis, we suggest you watch the original video, but if one thing has become clear, it is that Star Wars has ended up being a much bigger money sink for Disney than originally expected.