) had a rough weekend, with its newest blockbuster and hopeful
The Lone Ranger
taking in a severely disappointing weekend gross of $29.3 million
(it made $48.94 million if you include its early premiere on
Wednesday). Winning the weekend handily was the
)-distributed animated film
Despicable Me 2
, which took in $82.5 million over three days and $142.1 million
over five (that marks Universal's largest five-day gross ever).
It is likely that Disney will lose somewhere between $150 million
and $190 million on
The Lone Ranger
, which cost between $215 million and $250 million to produce. This
rubs salt in the $200 million wound that the massive flop
left at the studio last summer.
However, since Friday, Disney's stock is not down, but rather is
2.39% up, perhaps thanks to an analyst from Credit Suisse named
Michael Senno. Two days ago, Senno wrote that he expects
Star Wars: Episode VII
, tentatively set for release in 2015, to generate $733
for Disney. That level of profit will equate approximately to a
staggering global gross of $1.2 billion. Because of this, Senno's
new price target for Disney is $74.
Explaining this seemingly bold prediction in simple terms, Senno
franchise should drive strong profit growth and mitigate risk at
the studio with fewer risky high-budget films." In this way, the
franchise sounds a lot like the Marvel franchise which has been so
lucrative for Disney. After all, last summer's superhero
took in $1.5 billion globally and is the third highest grossing
film of all time (not adjusted for inflation).
Of course, $1.2 billion seems like a lot to predict, particularly
as we're at least two years away from the film's release. However,
there is a lot of evidence to suggest that Senno may not be too far
off the money. In fact, he may be predicting conservatively:
Star Wars Episode I
was the first
reboot to hit theaters, in 1999. With a great deal of anticipation,
marketing, and good-enough reviews, it grossed $1.03 billion.
Star Wars Episode III
, the latest
film, released in 2005, grossed $848,754,768. The second of the new
Star Wars Episode II
, grossed $649,398,328 worldwide (it must be said,
is generally accepted to be the worst of the
films). And going back to the beginning, the original
-- the movie that created the phenomena of lines around corners and
kids going to see it five times -- grossed $775,398,007 in 1977.
Adjusted for inflation, that's $1.4 billion, second only to
Gone With the Wind
as highest grossing film of all time.
Additionally, it's likely that
will be played on
) and in 3D, which increases the price of tickets and accounts
largely for the huge global grosses of the latest blockbusters.
Regardless, the next
film will have a high box office gross simply because J.J. Abrams,
the film's director, and Disney are continuing one of the greatest
film sagas of all time, and expanding it to a new audience. We can
count on the marketing to be massive and ubiquitous. We can count
on insane levels of hype and anticipation. What remains a mystery,
however, is the quality of the film. If Abrams and his crew can
film on par with the story quality of the original trilogy, it is
likely the next film will gross
$1.5 billion. If the new film proves to be uninspired, it may
struggle to reach a billion, but that's still a ton of money.
will play a pivotal role in Disney's attempt at global media
domination in the next few years, but it is certainly not the
studio's only star. For more on Disney's coming media assault,
Disney Will Rule the World in 2015
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