The Force: Star Wars Franchise Worth Over $30 Billion and Growing

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What is the value of all of the intellectual property?  Imagine if George Lucas just decided to put the entire Star Wars brand up for sale.  No one has calculated that value in detail and it would be a guess.  Private equity firms, large media companies, and eccentric billionaires would be clamoring to sign confidentiality pacts to see if they could buy the rights to all of the Star Wars franchise.  Owning the rights and intellectual property in the future would be worth much more than just millions of dollars.  Would it sell for $1 billion? $2 billion? $10 billion? 

What about future films?  Just picking up a new trilogy for films 7, 8, and 9 while the original Star Wars cast is still alive for cameos would generate untold sales.  The first film alone would have to eclipse Avatar, particularly if George Lucas allowed someone else to write the script.  There have been four seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated shows and we have not even included that in the value for ad sales.

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What is the value of the StarWars.com website?  Alexa’s traffic ranking gives Star Wars the rank of 2,993 in the United States.  It has been around since the 1990s and has had millions of visitors.  You know that around large releases its traffic statistics have to get even better than that.  Facebook’s official Star Wars page has 6.8 million “likes.”

What about the knock-offs and the endless rip-offs of unlicensed sales?  Capturing just 10% of the royalties from the sales from illegal product sales manufactured and published would be a giant bump.  Spread over all of the video games, books, movies, tee-shirts, apparel, toys, and other knockoff items illegally sold would be massive.  Has there been $1 billion in illegal Star Wars product sales in the life of Star Wars?  That is not even $30 million in illegal sales in each of the last 35 years. 

What about the resale market? The resale market of second-hand books, used DVDs, merchandise, eBay, Amazon, garage sales and more is huge.  Think about the after-market collectibles sales at Star Wars and comic conventions.  Almost zero goes back to Lucas Licensing, but that has to be a minimum of another $1 billion over the years.  Again, that is not even an average of $30 million per year.  Hint: Amazon has 80,821 items and eBay had 383,230 results for shoppers or bidders.

There have been many offshoots of Star Wars, many of which are documentaries and spoofs.  Many comedians have used Star Wars as the basis for their skits, and there have probably been thousands of Star Wars fan clubs on campuses which spend money and exchange goods on all things tied to Star Wars.  CafePress.com has very little official Star Wars merchandise, but it has untold numbers of items for sale that are obviously styled after Star Wars.

It seems that $30.5 billion is a massive number, and it a massive number that undercuts the real future value after today. The Force is strong, even when it is weak.  Maybe George Lucas should consider an IPO.

JON C. OGG

Sources: Lucasfilm; Lucas Licensing; Box Office Mojo; Forbes; Statistic Brain for reference; NPD; GameStop; Electronic Arts; GameStop; StarWars.com; VGchartz.com; HollywoodReporter.com.

Movies Total $4.277 Billion, unadjusted for inflation GROSS ($MIL)
Star Wars (1977) 775
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 538
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi 475
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 924
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 649
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 848
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 68