Star Wars fans are eagerly awaiting the new Stars Wars film – so too are investors in The Walt Disney Company.
Disney bought Lucasfilm from Star Wars creator George Lucas in 2012.
Wall Street analysts believe the new film could earn US$2 billion (NZ $2.95 billion) at the box office.
If the predictions are correct, the film will top every movie except for Avatar.
Like Avatar, it will get a boost from the money generated by the more expensive 3D screenings, but Disney really needs people to see the film more than once. It also wants great reviews so there is demand for the subsequent movies.
The merchandise could generate US$5 billion (NZ $7.3 billion) in 12 months. Disney takes a cut of that but it shares the revenue with the retailers and with companies like Lego and Hasbro.
Lucas continues to earn money from Star Wars. He sold his company for US$4 billion (NZ$5.9 billion), but took around half his payment in Disney stock. The shares have doubled in value over the past three years.
He's paid tax and donated money to charity and is now expected to have a net worth of around US$5.1 billion (NZ$7.5 billion).
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