Box Office Sales and Production Costs for Star Wars Movies

    Star Wars fans prove they are anxiously awaiting the latest installment of the action packed series by purchasing $50 million in advanced ticket sales. The franchise has collectively made more than $7 billion, but the most recent episode is expected to be the largest hit out of the entire series. According to Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, “this next episode is a top priority.” Analysts are now projecting the 2015 Star Wars movie will be one of the top-grossing box office hits in history.

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    Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released May 25 1977. The production budget for this installment of the series was $11,000,000. It earned $460,935,665 domestically and reached $786,535,665 internationally. As excitement and popularity grew for Star Wars, the production budget increased to $23,000,000 for the next installment. Fans were ecstatic for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back to be released. On May 21, 1980 fans proved their loyalty by spending $290,158,751 domestically and $534,058,751 internationally, proving there are dedicated fans worldwide. The production budget for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi once again increased to $32,500,000. It earned $309,125,409 domestically and $572,625,409 internationally.

    The production budget was raised drastically to $115,000,000 for the next three episodes. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released May 19, 1999 earning $474,544,677 domestically and $1,027,044,677 worldwide, while On May 16, 2002 box office sales dropped to $302,181,125 domestically and $648,200,000 at the worldwide box office. The May 19, 2005 release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith showed a slight increase in sales, reaching $380,270,577 domestically and $848,998,877 internationally.

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which was released August 15, 2008 had a production budget of $8,500,000. It quickly earned $35,161,554 domestically and $68,695,443 worldwide.

    The long awaited new episode of the franchise, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, has the highest production budget to date, reaching $200,000,000. Its December 18, 2015 release date has die-hard fans counting the minutes until its release. Fans also have future episodes to look forward to for the next few years which includes, Star Wars Rogue One, Star Wars: Episode VIII, Star Wars: Episode IX and the Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Spinoff. According to Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne and RBC Capital Markets, the latest installment is expected to bring in $650 million in the United States and $2 billion in total globally.

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    According to presale tickets, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is already breaking records. The nation’s largest online ticket seller confirmed they have sold eight times the amount of tickets than usual.

    Box Office History for Star Wars Movies

    Release Date Movie Production Budget Domestic Opening Weekend Domestic Box Office Worldwide Box Office
    May 25, 1977 Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope $11,000,000 $1,554,475 $460,935,665 $786,535,665
    May 21, 1980 Star Wars Ep. V: The Empire Strikes Back $23,000,000 $4,910,483 $290,158,751 $534,058,751
    May 25, 1983 Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi $32,500,000 $23,019,618 $309,125,409 $572,625,409
    May 19, 1999 Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace $115,000,000 $64,810,970 $474,544,677 $1,027,044,677
    May 16, 2002 Star Wars Ep. II: Attack of the Clones $115,000,000 $80,027,814 $302,181,125 $648,200,000
    May 19, 2005 Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith $115,000,000 $108,435,841 $380,270,577 $848,998,877
    Aug 15, 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars $8,500,000 $14,611,273 $35,161,554 $68,695,443
    Dec 18, 2015 Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens $200,000,000 $0 $0
    Dec 16, 2016 Star Wars: Rogue One $0 $0
    May 26, 2017 Star Wars: Ep. VIII $0 $0
    May 25, 2018 Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Spinoff $0 $0
    Dec 31, 2019 Star Wars: Ep. IX $0 $0
    Totals $620,000,000 $2,252,377,758 $4,486,158,822
    Averages $77,500,000 $42,481,496 $321,768,251 $640,879,832

    Since October 19, 2015, the movie released its first presale ticket batch which caused fans to quickly crash ticketing sites such as AMC, Fandango and MovieTickets.com. According to Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse theater, they experienced the largest simultaneous surge the ticket industry has ever seen.

    On December 18, 2015, The Force Awakens is expected to play in 4,000 theatres. MovieTickets.com has already reported its highest traffic in history for the site and AMC Theatres broke its advance sales record by more than tenfold.

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    Star Wars-themed merchandise is already in high demand among fans. Due to the excitement of the fans, presale ticket sales and merchandise demands, Disney is expecting it to impact their bottom line similar to the Disney movie Frozen. So far, about 130,000 fans arrived at midnight openings within the United States just to have first choice at new Star Wars toys. Amazon announced the BB-8 droid toys sold out within the first 13 minutes. Disney could expect to see an additional $5 billion in video games, branded toys and other products during 2016, according to Morgan Stanley’s Swinburne.

    Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is the first film of the sequel trilogy. The movie will be released on December 18, 2015 in North America, Asia and Latin America. Some theatres are preparing to offer a limited advance showing the night before the official release date.

    Some fans may dispute the Star Wars story ended with Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In 2011, George Lucas began working on the story of the new episode in order to increase the value of his company Lucasfilm Ltd. George Lucas sold his company to the Walt Disney Company for an undisclosed amount of money. Lucas had offered the written story he created, however The Walt Disney company later chose not to use the story. Lucasfilm and Disney finalized the acquisition on October 30, 2012, which is the same day they announced Episode VII.

    Director, J.J. Abrams stated: “We wanted to tell a story that had its own self-contained beginning, middle, and end but at the same time, like A New Hope, implied a history that preceded it and also hinted at a future to follow.” So far the total Star Wars movie series production budget is $620,000,000, the domestic box office earnings total in the amount of $2,252,377,758 and $4,486,158,822 worldwide. While most fans are focusing on the movie itself, many are curious to learn the box office sales.

    The Force Awakens opens in less than two weeks and it is projected to break a variety of major records during its box office run. IMAX announced The Force Awakens already has the highest pre-sales reaching $6.5 million before reaching November. In the past, no film has ever had presales more than $1 million.

    Currently The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey holds the single day box office record at $37.13 million, which is already less than The Force Awakens’ pre-sales. The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey also holds the opening weekend box office record at $84.62 million. The Force Awakens is expected to exceed this record as well.

    In 2015, the preview evening receipts record belongs to The Avengers: Age of Ultron with $27.6 million. There’s a large possibility The Force Awakens can break this record as well since Disney may plan it’s opening as early as 7p.m. in every theater on Thursday. As fans and observers continue to wait for the release of the movie, focus is set on The Force Awakens breaking a multitude of records.

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