Walt Disney Co’s (NYSE:DIS) much-awaited flick Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is slated to hit theaters on Dec 18. Thus, the company is leaving no stone unturned to generate massive pre-release publicity for the film, be it by word of mouth or digital releases of all the earlier movies, or through incorporation of the Star Wars universe in the latest version of its video game, Disney Infinity 3.0.
Disney also announced the first-of-its-kind toy “unboxing” event for the Star Wars merchandise, and on Sep 3, the company, in collaboration with Google Inc.’s YouTube, unveiled the products online for about 18 hours. All the toys, action figures, clothing, and other merchandise related to the Star Wars movie are available for purchase from 12.01 a.m. today morning onward, and the event is being dubbed as “Force Friday”.
Apart from Disney Store, other major retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Target Corp., Toys R Us and Amazon.com are participating in Force Friday events. Going one step ahead, Wal-Mart and Target plan to hold the event on Saturday as well, naming it “Share the Force Saturday”, per media reports.
Analysts believe that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could generate merchandise sales of $5 billion in its first year of release, much more than Disney’s Cars 2 that garnered $3 billion. They also asserted that this could fetch Disney approximately $500 million in licensing and retail revenue, and lead to $200 million of incremental operating profit in fiscal 2016. Since 1977, when the first Star Wars film was released, consumers have spent over $20 billion on merchandise associated with the movies.
Given Disney’s unparalleled marketing ability and Star Wars’ popularity, The Force Awakens is undoubtedly the most awaited release now. Moreover, the movie’s trailers have been viewed numerous times. It is the first new Star Wars film since Disney acquired George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd. for a cash and stock deal worth $4.1 billion in 2012.
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