In less than two years, the seventh installment of the Star Wars Saga will be released in theaters around the world. Star Wars: Episode VII will be the first new Star Wars movie since the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Needless to say, the forthcoming film from director J.J. Abrams is expected to be a giant hit. That’s pretty much a foregone conclusion, and the only question surrounding its success is how big the film’s box office tally will become. According to Disney and Wall Street analysts, Episode VII will gross at least $1 billion worldwide.
More specifically, Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to gross approximately $1.2 billion, as reported by Variety. There are currently 16 movies among the top-grossing films of all-time that have crossed the billion-dollar mark, and only one of them is a Star Wars movie.
That was 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which pulled in just over a billion dollars worldwide. Episode I sits in the number 13 slot on the top-grossing films, while the original Star Wars, at $2.7 billion, has the highest box office gross when adjusted for inflation. Episode VII may fit somewhere in between the two films when it’s released in 2015. Here’s how the Star Wars Saga’s box office receipts breakdown:
Star Wars – $2.7 billion
The Empire Strikes Back – $538.3 million
Return of the Jedi – $475.1 million
The Phantom Menace – $1 billion
Attack of the Clones – $649.3 million
Revenge of the Sith – $848.7 million (#33 on the highest grossing movies of all-time list)
Star Wars: Episode VII – estimated $1.2 billion (which would put it at #5 on the all-time list)
These Episode VII projections come after the massive disappointment of The Lone Ranger this past Fourth of July holiday weekend. That film from director Gore Verbinski only managed to generate $51 million over the five-day holiday weekend, against an estimated budget of $215 million. The Lone Ranger is officially a box office bomb, as Disney is planning to write-down the film at a loss as high as $190 million. But with the recent success of Marvel’s Iron Man 3 ($1.2 billion worldwide gross) and Pixar’s Monsters University (about $401 million worldwide gross so far), the Walt Disney Corporation is doing okay financially.
Last year, Disney had to write off the loss of John Carter‘s (remember John Carter?) box office under-performance at an estimated $200 million, while the film ended up grossing $283 million worldwide. Luckily, Disney also had Marvel’s The Avengers and its $1.5 billion box office to make up for the disappointment of the Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation.
With the estimated $1.2 billion worldwide box office gross, Star Wars: Episode VII is already expected to make Disney and Lucasfilm $733 million in profits from movie tickets, consumer products, and other revenue. These estimates were predicted for Disney and Lucasfilm even before director J.J. Abrams has said “Action!”
This is exactly why Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise back in October 2012. There’s really no telling how successful the Star Wars brand will be for Disney with a new sequel trilogy, stand-alone films, a new animated series, and a proposed Star Wars Land theme park at Disneyland in California. If Star Wars: Episode VII turns out to be a good film — in terms of quality and entertainment value — then it might well hit the estimated $1.2 billion and keep right on going.
Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to hit theaters everywhere sometime during the summer of 2015, in 3D and IMAX.