Why Buying Star Wars Was a Brilliant Move by Disney

From The Atlantic:

Movie stars aren’t the most valuable thing in Hollywood. Neither are whip-smart screenwriters, superstar directors, or deep-pocketed producers. The single most valuable thing in the movie business is owning popular content with a great track record and the possibility of future sequels. That’s where the money is.

And that’s why Disney is on a Popular Movie Franchise Spending Spree. In 2006, it paid $11 billion for Pixar. In 2009, it paid $4 billion for Marvel. And yesterday, it paid another $4 billion to acquire Lucasfilm and the right to continue the Star Wars franchise into the future.

Will the next Star Wars movie be any good? Who knows. But knowing what we know about the state of the movie business, this was a smart buy for four reasons.

(1) THE POWER OF SEQUELS

Hollywood is in the business of buying attention. But attention is a hard thing to buy when you’re working from scratch: Original stories are much riskier than sequels. Indeed, the only movie in the top 30 all-time top-grossing films that isn’t a sequel or adaptation is James Cameron’s Avatar, which is basically “Future 3-D Pocahontas.”

In 2011, 14 of the top 15 movies in the U.S./Canada were sequels and adaptations (all but Bridesmaids):

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Atlantic