Disney Releases 34-Second Teaser of Star Wars: Episode VIII
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With a worldwide gross of more than $2 billion in just eight weeks at the box office, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an undeniable hit.
But while the next visit to that galaxy far, far away in the new trilogy won't happen until December 15, 2017, the Disney hype machine has kicked into gear with an announcement over the weekend that production on the highly anticipated eighth installment of the franchise has begun in London.
If the 34-second teaser seems a bit advanced -- though fans likely aren't complaining at getting any look, however brief, at the film -- it's certainly on track with the entertainment giant's marketing strategy for the beloved pop cultural property, since it arrived under its auspices. The strategy being that there is no corner of the retail world that can't be improved by Star Wars.
Ubiquity is the name of the game, with not just animated TV series, toys (which garnered some controversy recently), video games and books, but also clothing, cosmetics, all manner of gadgets, food, furniture and even band-aids featuring characters new and old. Analysts are predicting that anywhere from $5 billion to $6 billion worth of Star Wars merchandise could be sold in the 2016 fiscal year. As a basis of comparison, Disney's last juggernaut, 2013's Frozen, hit that $5 billion figure last year.
George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for more than $4 billion back in 2012, a move that the filmmaker appears to still feel ambivalent about, if an unfortunate analogy that he made in an interview with Charlie Rose earlier this winter likening Disney to "white slavers" is any guide. But creative differences aside, the train has left the station and shows no sign of slowing down. Including Episode VIII, five more movies are on deck, with the next film set in the Star Wars universe, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiering in December.