Scrolling back through some older posts, I recall it’s been about seven years since Disney paid $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm, and with it the Star Wars franchise. Of course, Star Wars has since become a gigantic boom for the Mouse House, raking in plenty of cash. The same goes for Marvel, which Disney bought in late August 2009 for $4.24 billion. The subsequent “Marvel Cinematic Universe” and its heroes have become household names in the 2010s.
But how much has Disney made from each franchise at the box office? Quite a bit. As for which franchise has earned Disney more money, see below.
Since the December 2015 release of the first Disney-made Star Wars film, “The Force Awakens,” the various Star Wars films have earned over $4.8 billion, a bit more than what Disney paid for Lucasfilm. The break-even mark came about a year ago, with some publicity on business websites.
Of course, that’s just for the movies, including the underperforming Han Solo film “Solo.” The merchandising sales are lucrative in their own right.
Since the first Disney-produced Marvel film in 2012 (“The Avengers”), the Marvel Cinematic Universe has earned over $18.2 billion, or more than four times what Disney paid for Marvel.
Again, that’s just the movies’ box office. It’s not counting the merchandising sales, TV shows, and so forth. It’s also not counting comic sales, which are clearly a small fraction of that amount. The entire North American comic market earned about $1.095 billion for 2018. In comparison, “Black Panther” alone earned over $1.3 billion at the box office in 2018 (and $700 million of that in North America alone).
Overall, there’s a reason Disney was interested in buying Marvel, and it wasn’t to publish comic books.
Disney’s pleased with owning both Star Wars and Marvel, of course, even if the latter’s earned way more in revenue at the movies. Both will form the cornerstone of the Disney+ streaming service, and there’s another “Star Wars” movie coming out in December. And in a combination of the two, the Star Wars comics are decent sellers for Marvel.