Disney’s report on their first quarter of their fiscal year has just hit the internet, and Bob Iger is reporting that sales are at an all-time high for the company thanks to Star Wars. While we currently have an article about the financial details of the report in the pipeline, right now it’s more important to focus on the four things that Iger revealed in the discussion: that Rogue One is almost finished with its production, that Episode VIII has begun filming, that the Han Solo movie is in pre-production and is still targeting a May 2018 release date (as opposed to being delayed for another December release), and that production on Episode IX has also started.
Over the last 10 years, we’ve built an enviable collection of vibrant, valued and admired brands. We’ve also created, acquired or re-envisioned several of the world’s most valuable franchises and we’re fully leveraging these assets across our portfolio of businesses and around the globe. Of course, nothing reflects the impact of this strategy better than the phenomenal resurgence of the Star Wars franchise. And there is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products. It’s been absolutely thrilling to see the reaction to our first Star Wars feature film, The Force Awakens. Audiences and critics alike really love this movie. It’s the only film in history to ever reach $900 million in domestic box office; and as you may have heard, it crossed $2 billion in global box office over the weekend, more than doubling the worldwide box office for the last Star Wars release a decade ago.
Breaking records at the box office is only the beginning. Global retail sales for Star Wars merchandise in the first quarter exceeded $3 billion, more than triple the global retail for this franchise in Q1 of last year. Star Wars is also driving unprecedented growth for our mobile games and EA’s launch of Star Wars Battlefront was the biggest video game release in Star Wars history, with more than 13 million units sold. Filming of Star Wars: Episode 8, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December, 2017. And production of Episode 9, a 2019 release, has also begun.
In the meantime, we will keep fans engaged in the Star Wars universe and further expand the franchise with the release of Rogue One this coming December. It’s a compelling and original stand-alone story about a band of rebels attempting to steal the plans for the Death Star, set just prior to the events in the first Star Wars movie, Episode 4: A New Hope. Filming of Rogue One is virtually completed and we absolutely love what we’ve seen so far. This is the first of a set of planned stand-alone stories and we’re already in preproduction on our next one, for release in May of 2018. And on the Parks front, later this year we will break ground on spectacular new Star Wars theme lands in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Clearly, Q1 saw the impact of our extremely successful relaunch of the Star Wars franchise, as well as its enormous potential to drive value across our entire Company for the foreseeable future. Given our unparalleled mix of some of the world’s best IP and strongest brands, we’re well positioned for continued growth over the long term, regardless of changing dynamics in the media landscape.
One must wonder – if production for Episode IX has begun, does that mean that it will also be targeting a Summer 2019 release (or possibly even earlier than that)? And as for Episode VIII, does this mean that an update on who is being cast for the film will come sometime soon? These are answers that raise more questions. In any case, we’ll keep you covered. Stay on target with Star Wars News Net – your Force for news about the latest and greatest stories about the Galaxy Far, Far Away.