It’s a quandary for Disney. Star Wars is “a very strong franchise, but a film has not been released in 10 years,” CEO Bob Iger told analysts this morning. That means “there’s a whole generation” that doesn’t recall the power of the Force. In addition, “there are are markets around the world that were not developed” a decade ago — including China, which was “barely a market.”
Still, Disney’s been “overwhelmed with interest” in the movie, which has “well exceeded our expectations.” And with three Star Wars films planned through May 2017, its “carefully constructed and deliberate” roll out plan is designed to be sure that there isn’t “too much, too soon,” he says.
Disney will wait until a few months before the December 18 release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens before loading store shelves with licensed consumer products. Electronic Arts just announced plans for the November release of Star Wars: Battlefront — the first console video game based on the franchise since 2013. “You can expect more,” Iger says.
And while there’s a “huge opportunity” for theme park tie-ins — like its Jedi Training Academy — most of those plans remain under wraps for now.
Investors are eager to hear details: Disney shares continue to soar in part because many believe that the film franchise will become one of the company’s biggest profit drivers over the next several years.