News of Disney purchasing Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion has flooded the web. That’s $50M more than what the company paid for Marvel in 2009. When looking at these numbers side by side, $4B seems a bargain for the wealth of characters, stories and worlds within the Marvel franchise.
After three major disappointments and countless drained fans, Star Wars is starting to feel like a squeezed orange. The success of this now almost-null franchise will undoubtedly lie in the new films attracting fans in younger generations and re-capturing the hearts of the old ones. The most recent Star Wars films weren’t strong enough to create a new fan base and the original fans are growing weary. Not only that, but the most powerful target market, kids and teens, is not even minimally interested in this franchise. Case in point, my 15 and 17-year-old nephews have no idea who Han Solo or Obi-Wan Kenobi is, while Spiderman and Wolverine were words used daily in their vocabulary when Disney purchased Marvel.
This is not to say that there isn’t huge potential in this, the most iconic epic of our time. I am a fan of the original movies and, as such, would look forward to the next chapter. At its core, the Star Wars movies, and the brand, deal with timeless themes. If Disney is able, as they almost always are, to find the essence of what originally made the film a sensation, the franchise undoubtedly has the potential to fill plenty of theater seats, sell amusement park tickets, video games and trinkets, and once again capture the heart of millions.
Ultimately, the question is whether the investment of $4.05 Billion on this brand is worth this risk. What could Disney have created from scratch with only a miniature fraction of this gigantic number? This is an especially tantalizing thought when you consider that Disney pays salaries to some of the most brilliant minds in the family entertainment business today.
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