The media giant will “use the Force” this year in more ways than one.
In Star Wars lore, a Jedi can levitate objects with the appropriate focus and training. Now it’s time to see if that power can also work some financial magic by levitating Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock itself.
This is going to be a big year for Star Wars. Disney is going to make it hard to escape the reach of the iconic Lucasfilm franchise, and if its aim is on target, the sci-fi property is going to help provide a hearty boost across all of the media giant’s businesses. Let’s explore the three big ways Star Wars will help in 2019, and also see how these moves could serve as long-term catalysts for Disney.
Image source: Disney.
1. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The first of the Lucasfilm infusions happens this summer — as soon as June — when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge makes its debut at the original Disneyland park in California. The 14-acre expansion will feature two bar-raising rides and several ways to eat, drink, and shop your way deeper into the Star Wars universe. Florida will get a near-replica of the new land a few months later.
Disney hosted a sneak peek at Disneyland last week for travel journos, and jaws had to be picked up off the floor. The world’s leading theme-park operator isn’t playing it safe here. It’s swinging for the fences with a deeply immersive experience that’s going to make both resorts very busy for a long time.
This will be Disney’s most important addition to either resort in 20 years. Disneyland already raised ticket prices in January, and Disney World should follow soon. Did I mention that Disney’s building a Star Wars Hotel at its Florida resort?
Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Disney.
2. Star Wars: Episode IX
The ninth and final installment in the Star Wars trilogies hits theaters in December. We’ll technically be in Disney’s fiscal 2020 at that point — and even the lion’s share of the film’s revenue will be recorded in the 2020 calendar year — but it’s going to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
The film that still doesn’t have an official title won’t be the end of Star Wars on the big screen. Disney has several spin-offs and new story lines that it can pursue in the coming years. The franchise isn’t going away anytime soon.
3. The Mandalorian
Disney is ready to take the wheel when it comes to driving its streaming business. The launch of Disney+, its first self-branded platform, is going to make waves. Disney has started to reel in some of its content available on third-party sites, and it has also committed to original shows including some based on its Marvel and Lucasfilm properties.
The Mandalorian is the first of the Star Wars spinoffs that have been announced for Disney+. It may or may not be ready to launch when Disney+ makes its debut later this year, but it won’t be long before it becomes one of the key subscription drivers for the upcoming platform.
Between a buzz-smacked theme park expansion, the most anticipated Star Wars film of all time, and the first Lucasfilm series of the many that will pad the catalog of its upcoming streaming service, the future is pretty clear: Star Wars will be a big part of Disney’s present, but it will play an even larger role in the future.
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