Disney racks up $3bn from Star Wars merchandise alone

Disney made more from selling Star Wars merchandise in the first three months of this year than it did from any merchandise sales in the same period last year.

Disney: Star Wars merchandise could prove as lucrative as Frozen toys over the long term
Disney: Star Wars merchandise could prove as lucrative as Frozen toys over the long term

The company took $3bn in global retail sales for Star Wars merchandise in the first quarter this year, boosted by the release of Star Wars: the Force Awakens in December.

CEO Bob Iger stopped short of predicting whether Star Wars would do as well as Frozen merchandise sales over time, but said product sales had done well even in markets where the film had been less popular.

He pointed out that with new film Rogue One arriving this year, and the seventh and eighth Star Wars episodes due in 2017 and 2019, sales would likely remain strong.

Speaking during an earnings call, he said: "[While] I don't want to predict that it's going to be a steady state, [we think] that we're not seeing something aberrational right now; what we're seeing is the establishment of an old franchise, but at a much higher level in terms of global interest and sales."

Popular merchandise on sale around Star Wars: the Force Awakens includes Hasbro’s Millennium Falcon model and lightsabers, Lego’s Command Shuttle and figurines, and Sphero’s BB8 robot.

The film was released on 18 December 2015, and became one of the biggest-ever box-office hits globally, grossing $900m in the US and more than $2bn globally.

The release of Star Wars: the Force Awakens helped Disney to record earnings for the quarter of $2.9bn, up from $2.2bn over the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter came in at $15bn, up from $13bn in 2014.

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