Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The Math Behind Disney’s “Star Wars” Deal

Disney is paying George Lucas $4 billion for his “Star Wars” empire. Did it get a good deal?

That all depends, of course, on whether people want to see the next three “Star Wars” movies Disney says it is lining up.

It’s a tricky bit of guesstimating, because the people who were young enough to be wowed by Lucas’ first installment when it debuted in 1977, are now oldsters who are 40 and much older.

And many of those same people (cough) despise the last three movies he put out. But if a new generation of kids like this stuff, then Disney is in good shape.

Bernstein’s Todd Juenger breaks it down in a note today. For starters, he figures Lucasfilm does $860 million in revenue a year right now (see table below).

Next you have to guess what kind of performance Disney will get from the new movies. If each of the next three three movies does “Avengers”-like numbers, they’ll generate $1.5 billion at the box office, $2.8 billion overall, and generate $1 billion each in profits, and the deal works out for Bob Iger and his successor.

Is all that doable? Yes, he says: “Not heroic, given the ‘Star Wars’ brand and Disney’s unparalleled global consumer products network.”

Here’s the math:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald