With just over 4 months left until the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger, wants expectations for Episode VII to be a little more realistic. During the company’s earnings call, an analyst asked Iger to asses the impact of the film’s release and what is expectations were, and his reply was not what you might expect from the head of a company about to release what is arguably the most anticipated film of the year.
"“On the Star Wars front, we know there is just incredible interest in this film. We put two teaser trailers out, and the response has just been enormous. Anything that moves gets a lot of attention, and the anticipation is obviously huge. We’ve seen some examples already of Star Wars product going on the marketplace on the consumer products front, including in markets like China, that are very, very encouraging.” “That said, as enthusiastic as we are for what we know of the film, we have not seen a Star Wars film — an original one — since 2005. And there are markets around the world that are less familiar with Star Wars than, say, the United States, for instance.”"
Could this just be the case of a company just hedging their bets? Does Iger and Disney really feel that there is a chance that The Force Awakens won’t perform well, world-wide? I suppose it is fair to say markets like China may not do as well as the U.S. but I don’t know that it’s realistic to think that the power of Disney hasn’t reached the international market.
Entertainment Weekly posits that this was an obvious effort, on Iger and Disney’s part, to slow what they call “runaway excitement.” Just as recently as June, wealth management and investment company Morgan Stanley, estimated that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could potentially earns $650 million in the United States and $1.3 billion internationally…and they were concerned they were being too conservative in that estimation.
Iger did go one to try and clarify the meanings of his comments, stating that Disney understands the fact that they have the most valuable film franchise that ever existed, but that they did not want the market to set unrealistic goals that may never be reached. There won’t be a way to tell how fan excitement will translate into monetary gain or profit until September 4 — Force Friday — and the start of the Journey to the Force Awakens. Globally, toy and books stores will be debuting never before seen The Force Awakens merchandise, and I have a feeling those lowered expectations will be forgotten by September 5th.