Star Wars: A Tidal Wave of Money Awakens

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I got curious last night about whether movie theaters had to pay more to show Star Wars than they do for other movies. The answer is yes:

Theaters are under extra pressure now because Disney is demanding a giant box-office slice: “well north of 60 percent” of each ticket, B. Riley & Co. media analyst Eric Wold estimated, compared to an average of about 53 percent for all films since 2008….Disney is also requiring theaters keep the movie playing on large screens for four weeks at a minimum, longer than studios generally demand, Wold said. And because Disney owns some of the world’s most powerful film franchises — including the superheroes and animated universes of Marvel and Pixar — no theater wants to face the consequences of scuttling the premiere.

Over the next couple of weeks, I suspect I’m going to be asking again and again a question that’s been on my mind for a long time: how did Disney manage to buy the Star Wars franchise for only $4 billion? Surely it’s worth 20x earnings, and surely it delivers more than $200 million in profit per year. Right? What am I missing here?

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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