Among the reasons AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) wants to take over Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) is the value of its movie studio asset. The Warner Bros. division of the large content company just proved how valuable the asset is. Its domestic box office total for movies produced or distributed by Warner Bros. topped $2 billion for 2017, which is better than any other studio worldwide.
According to Box Office Mojo:
Of additional note, Warner Bros. became the first studio in 2017 to cross the $2 billion mark at the domestic box office. Overall, 2017 is shaping up to be the second best year in the studio’s history domestically, while its worldwide performance is shaping up to be WB’s best ever after it recently topped $5 billion at the global marketplace led by releases such as Wonder Woman, It, Justice League and Dunkirk.
The news also shows how important superhero, animated and serial features are. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is about to release its new Star Wars movie: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The nine previous Star Wars movies have taken in $3.4 billion in domestic box office sales. The new movie could easily do $500 million on its own.
Warner Bros has released 31 movies so far this year. “Wonder Woman” did $412 million all on its own. “It,” a horror movie, ranks second for Warner Bros. at $327 million, followed by “Justice League” at $197 million. The characters in “Justice League” are long-time superheros that include Batman, and by the way, Wonder Woman. Two Lego movies are in Warner Bros. top 10. “The Lego Batman Movie,” a little of Lego and a little of Batman combined, did $175 million, putting it in fifth place for Warner Bros. “The Lego Ninjago Movie” was ninth for Warner Bros., with a domestic gross so far this year at $59 million.
All 31 movies will find their way onto cable TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime and perhaps Hulu. This means the earnings for the films will swell well beyond what they will do in theaters.
There are only seven studios that have more than 5% each of the domestic market, which is another sign of their tremendous value: Warner Bros., Buena Vista, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Sony/Columbia, Lionsgate and Paramount. AT&T has reason to covet Warner Bros.