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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (one of my favorite movies of all time) has set countless records. It just recently passed the $2 billion mark on the earnings scale. I think we all saw this coming. In fact, every major entertainment site has published at least one article predicting or relaying news about TFA and how much it has or will make. When Disney announced a new batch of movies was coming back in 2012, I think we all expected that sort of conversation eventually. What was funny to me though, is that everyone involved was asked about the income expectations of the film, and none of them really seemed like they cared all that much. Even J.J. Abrams (the director entrusted with the franchise's first big screen outing in 10 years) said he focused on the responsibility of pleasing the fans as opposed to recouping the 4 billion dollars Disney spent on LucasFilm and it's properties. Why wasn't Disney focused on this? What did The Force Awakens bring to the table that was more important than a return on their investment? Here are a few theories I have:

Bringing Back The Kiddos

Every new Star Wars movie brings in a new generation of fans. It had been ten whole years since Revenge of the Sith was released. I would say you probably have to be at least 4 or 5 years old to appreciate Star Wars. That means the youngest generation of fans were 14-15 in 2015. TFA brought in a whole slew of new little Star Wars fans, but why are kids important? One word...


Kids love toys, and which ones sell the best? The ones that tie into their favorite movies. LEGO is the top toy brand because they sell the largest variety of franchise-driven toys. Kids are some of the biggest consumers when it comes to franchise-driven merchandise. On top of that, you've got all of us golden oldies trading our savings for Sphero BB-8 phone accessories and 10$ tee shirts. They've got Americans of all sizes forking over their cash. However, there's also another great market for franchises...

The Foreign Markets

The Marvel movies do extremely well all over the world. Why? They've got brand recognition. Since 2008, Marvel has been drawing in audiences from here to China. That wasn't always the case, though. Casual viewers became hardcore fans by trying something new with one Marvel movie, which enticed them to see subsequent Marvel movies. For instance, I had seen Iron Man 1 and 2, but had no desire to see Thor or Captain America when they were released. My interest in Iron Man caused me to see The Avengers, which I loved so much that I had to immediately see Thor and Cap. The movies acted as advertisement for each other. Star Wars was never screened in places like China back in the '70s. The Force Awakens is their first real taste of Star Wars. No doubt, Disney will make more and more money with the next films as the Star Wars fanbase grows. TFA was their starting point from which to grow. Are merchandise and ticket sales the only way to utilize these fans? Nope. Next, they need to boost their...

Theme Parks

As of late, the Disney parks are being overtaken by Universal Studios, especially in Florida. Universal has used its franchises to build huge interactive lands which have drained Disney's Hollywood Studios in particular. Considering how well TFA did, adding a full Star Wars themed land to Hollywood Studios will increase its income exponentially. I'm sure this first addition won't be the last, either, as the fans will be showing how much they love these Star Wars experiences. Disney is rolling in cash from multiple sources, but was money The Force Awakens's only accomplishment? Lets not forget that it included...

Female Leads

The main character of the film was Rey, a 19 year old girl. This helps Disney make up for the fact that their other huge franchise (Marvel) is known for lacking female heroes. Not to mention Disney's history of stereotypical 'Disney Princesses'. While 2 out of the 11 official Avengers and 1 out of 18 villains in the current MCU are female characters, it's pretty cool that right out of the gate, Star Wars gives us 2 female heroes and 1 female villain (Rey, Leia, and Phasma). Hopefully that number will grow in the subsequent films.

With a single film, Star Wars became one of Disney's most profitable assets. On top of ticket sales they had merchandising and will soon have increased park attendance to line Mickey's pockets. They've also brought in some of the world's biggest consumers: children. If all of that isn't enough, they used this opportunity to focus more on female characters in pivotal roles. TFA isn't even done yet. We've yet to see DVD and Blu-Ray sales along with the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens in June. Back in 2012, Disney obviously knew they weren't buying a tool, they were buying the whole tool box. Now those tools are being used to build Disney and LucasFilm up high above everyone else. I for one can't wait for everything else they've got to offer.


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