The Last Jedi has helped Disney cross an important milestone. Disney purchased all of Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion. It was a hefty price, but an investment that was sure to pay off over time. While there are many factors to consider, that time is now. With the box office from The Last Jedi, the Disney era Star Wars movies have already grossed more at the box office than the studio paid to purchase Lucasfilm.
With the latest numbers accounted for as Star Wars: The Last Jedi heads into its third weekend at the box office, the Disney produced Star Wars movies, which also include Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, have made $4.07 billion at the box office. With that in mind, The Last Jedi still has a long way to go, but this serves as a good reminder that we've really only just begun. Disney is going to be making money from Star Wars until long after we're all gone.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains the highest-earner by far, bringing in $2.06 billion worldwide, with $936 million coming domestically alone. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story brought in $1.056 billion and, considering it was a standalone with almost no recognizable characters in it, that's pretty amazing. So far, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has managed just shy of $940 million and should cross the $1 billion mark very soon.
This doesn't mean that the box office alone has paid back the investment. For one, Disney doesn't get every penny of the box office back. Some stays with foreign markets and distributors get their cut. This also doesn't take into account production budgets and marketing, which are very high for Star Wars movies. That said, this number also doesn't take into account the many other revenue streams that come with Star Wars. Merchandise, Blu-ray and DVD sales, things of that nature, plus, TV shows like Star Wars Rebels.
There are also many revenue streams from Star Wars that Disney has yet to capitalize on. The original Star Wars movies haven't been re-released in theaters since the acquisition of Lucasfilm, which would bring in plenty of money. Not to mention the live-action Star Wars TV series they're reportedly developing for their upcoming streaming service. Plus, there's Star Wars 9, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rian Johnson's new Star Wars trilogy being developed.
Lucasfilm, up until very recently, was Disney's most flashy acquisition. The Mouse House has also purchased Pixar, Marvel and, very recently, most of 21st Century Fox in a landmark $52 billion deal. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, this is all thanks to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who has made the studio arguably the most dominant that Hollywood has ever seen. With Star Wars having pretty much already paid for itself, that is going to be a cash cow that other studios can only dream of.