The Acolyte pre-production costs more than Rogue One

(L-R): Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae and Director Leslye Headland on the set of Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae and Director Leslye Headland on the set of Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /
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Disney+’s upcoming Star Wars series, The Acolyte, spent more on pre-production than the 2016 blockbuster Rogue One, which made over a billion dollars at the box office. That’s up there in pre-production costs with Disney’s other Star Wars theatrical offerings, including The Last Jedi. The information that a whopping $49.2 Million was spent on The Acolyte comes direction from Disney.

The Acolyte is set 100 years before the events of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, which means it’s set before the events of any of the Star Wars films that have been released up till now. It’s also an entirely different time period than any of the Star Wars series released so far, including The Mandalorian, Andor, Obi Wan Kenobi and The Book Of Boba Fett.

The Acolyte’s time period, brand new characters and lack of any connection to existing material makes the heavy expenditure more of a risk. The news of such a high cost to make the series also comes at a time when Disney CEO Bob Iger has indicated that he wishes to cut back on costs of making streaming series for Disney+, and even wants to reduce the amount of Marvel and Star Wars series that are released. Iger wants Disney to focus on the theatrical side of things in order to make more money.

Only time will tell if this is the right strategy. For now, shows such as Andor and The Acolyte have spent a whopping amount on production costs. It has paid off for Andor, to a large degree. However, Andor hasn’t put up quite the same viewership numbers as The Mandalorian and Obi Wan Kenobi.

The Acolyte was filmed at Shinfield Studios in the UK, using the same Stagecraft technology which was introduced in The Mandalorian. Iger’s announcement that Disney would be cutting costs on making series for Disney+ and also reduce the amount of content that’s released has created confusion among fans, many of whom assumed that hit shows such as The Mandalorian must have generated plenty of revenue for Disney. Only time will tell if Disney’s new strategy will pay off, or make more fans cancel their subscriptions.

The Acolyte premieres next year on Disney+.