‘Star Wars’ to awaken other stocks than just Disney


Darth Vader leads the Stormtroopers down the red carpet at the European premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Leicester Square on Dec. 16, 2015 in London.

As “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” receives rave reviews and is already breaking presale box-office records, the future looks bright for companies that bet on the reinvigorated franchise in the coming years.

Rotten Tomatoes, a movie reviews aggregation site, has the film’s rating at 95 percent, which is an unprecedented level for a large-budget commercial release.

The strong buzz caused analysts at two major Wall Street banks to significantly raise their numbers for the movie this week.

“‘Star Wars’ looks great, and we raise our estimates … to $750 million domestic and $1.5 billion international (versus prior estimates of $650 million DBO / $1.3 billion IBO),” Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne wrote in a note to clients Thursday.

“We increase our global box-office estimate for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to $1.95 billion ($1.5 billion previously). … This would make ‘Star Wars’ the third-highest grossing film of all time,” Goldman Sachs’ Drew Borst wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

Borst states every incremental $100 million in box-office sales will add 2 cents of earnings per share to Disney in 2016. He also estimates “Star Wars”-related consumer products sales will reach $6 billion next year, around the same level as “Frozen” sales in 2015.

Investors think the importance of “Star Wars” to Disney can’t be overstated.

“The ‘Star Wars’ franchise is probably the single biggest bright spot for Disney right now. Disney’s biggest cash cow, ESPN, very well may already have peaked in terms of total viewership. That’s a big deal, as media networks make up about 60 percent of Disney’s profits, and this is completely dominated by ESPN,” said Charles Sizemore of Sizemore Capital in an email.

He added: “Disney will need strong performance from its studios to keep Wall Street happy. The latest ‘Star Wars’ installment may very well prove to be the highest-grossing movie in history, and it may break all merchandising records, as well.”

But Disney isn’t the only play. Here are all the ways to trade the success of the franchise…
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