MOVE OVER MICKEY

‘The Force Awakens’ isn’t even out yet and it’s already boosting Disney’s earnings

In 2012, the Walt Disney Company paid $4 billion to acquire Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars. Now, it’s about to truly reap the rewards of that investment.

The entertainment behemoth, which is gearing up to release Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Dec. 18, just posted its fifth consecutive year of record results, the company announced today (Nov. 4).

Disney’s earnings per share, excluding certain items, hit $5.15 for the first time ever in its fiscal year 2015 ended Oct. 3—in a 19% increase from 2014. The company posted $52.4 billion in revenue, a 7% boost from the previous year.

“We’re six weeks away from releasing the first [Star Wars] film in a decade, and you can already see the impact and value of that franchise in various businesses,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger on an earnings call.

During the fourth quarter, revenue from consumer products jumped 11% to $1.2 billion. The growth was driven by high demand for classic Star Wars merchandise as well as Avengers and Frozen products.

“The huge global response to the new merchandise revealed on Force Friday in September suggests the demand [for Star Wars products] will only grow with the release of new movies,” said Iger.

Sales of new The Force Awakens merchandise were not including in the fourth quarter numbers, and will be recognized after the film debuts.

With the The Force Awakens poised to obliterate box-office records and two more Star Wars films on the way, Disney will be milking the franchise for all it’s worth for years to come. Disney is releasing the long-awaited video game Star Wars: Battlefront this month, and constructing massive Star Wars theme parks—set to open in 2017, among other efforts tied to the films.

To be sure, Star Wars isn’t the only thing Disney has going for it. Nearly half of Disney’s revenue comes from media networks like ESPN and ABC, while the rest comes from parks and resorts, films, merchandise, and interactive platforms like its mobile apps and the Disney Infinity video game.

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