Let's Talk About 'Star Wars' -- That Franchising Juggernaut

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What do urns, fruit and drones have in common?

All of these are products fall under the massive Star Wars licensing umbrella that raked in over $3 billion in 2015 and is estimated to bring in $5 billion this year. The film franchise, which Disney purchased from Star Wars creator George Lucas in 2012 for the bargain price (relatively speaking) of $4 billion, has the largest licensing program ever, says Karina Masolova, editor of The Licensing Letter.

“Disney is exporting a huge world,” Masolova says. “Name a product, and they probably have it.”

It’s no shocker that Star Wars alone is doing billions in merchandise sales. George Lucas’s first film kicked off in 1977, and today, total revenue from Star Wars toy licensing is estimated at $12 billion and counting.  

The excitement is not going away anytime soon. The next film, Rogue One, will debut Dec. 16, 2016. In honor of Star Wars Day (#MayTheFourthBeWithYou), enjoy some fun facts about Star Wars sales figures over the years.

Note: While box-office totals have been adjusted for inflation, other sales numbers from the past four decades may not be. Given the range of estimates out there, the following figures provide a sense of the franchise’s scope.

Related: Batman vs. Superman: Who Makes More Money?

  • The first film in the franchise, A New Hope, debuted in 1977 and has generated $3 billion in sales since.

  • The seventh installment, The Force Awakens, was released on Dec. 18, 2016 and had the highest earning opening box office sales of all time at $248 million. It has earned $2.1 billion worldwide since.

  • Total box office revenue from Star Wars films total $7.3 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars.

  • In total, the Star Wars franchise has earned $30.2 billion worldwide in box offices sales, merchandising and licensing. (Some estimates put the figure even higher!)

  • The one film that did not match the merchandising sales of the others was Attack of the Clones. Because of the massive unpopularity of the Jar Jar Binks character, sales suffered.

  • Force Friday is an 18-hour global sales marathon -- much like Black Friday -- pegged to the launch of new Star Wars toys. Last year, Force Friday produced holiday-level sales that beat Amazon’s Prime Day and rivaled Black Friday (deals aside), according to Adobe Digital Index.

  • The Force Awakens trailer dropped on Oct. 19 and caused a 2000% spike in Star Wars-related mentions over social media, reports Adobe Digital Index.

  • Darth Vader topped all with the most social mentions at 590,000, while the new droid BB-8 came in second at 513,000 between the months of Sept. and Nov. 2015.







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