Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Commentary: 'How Kathleen Kennedy and Politics Cost Disney $3.7 Billion' by Aaron Clarey

There's a problem when it comes to measuring the box office success (or failure) of movies in America.  There is no standard measuring stick.  The best pundits, editors, and the media have come up with is inflation adjusted numbers, but this doesn't account for the fact the economy and number of people have grown.  For example Star Wars Episode IV "only" brought in $786 million in 1977, but the total GDP was only $2 trillion back then (compared to $20 trillion now) and there were only 220 million Americans, a full 100 million less than today.  So I tapped into my SAEG and came up with a new measure that I think beats all the other conventional measures being used - Box Office Sales as a Percent of GDP.  This accounts for inflation.  It accounts for economic growth.  It accounts for population growth.  And I think it should be used hence forth anytime people are interested in comparing box office numbers, especially when the movies are decades apart.

However, my motivation for coming up with this figure was not purely noble.  I had an ulterior motive.  I wanted to calculate just how much Kathleen Kennedy (and her commensurate politics) cost Disney and its shareholders in terms of profits/market value.  I wanted to see what percent of the Star Wars franchise's value was destroyed by politics.  Because as I've stated before, I'm getting mighty sick and tired of politics being mixed in with my fun.  Thus my hope is to attach a price tag to "being woke" and ruining everybody's movie-going fun with SJW politics so that the morons in Hollywood might get a clue before they go out of business.


First I calculated Box Office sales as a Percent of GDP (BOSPG) for each of the Star Wars movies.


This is nothing shocking as the original Star Wars was truly ground breaking, bringing in just shy of 4/100ths a percent of GDP.  This dropped significantly to .019% and .016% GDP for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, respectively, but still impressive.  The prequels' lackluster performance also showed as they brought in .011%, .007%, and .006%.  And the sequels repeated the same, capitalizing on a new generation's hope, posting .011%, .006% and .007%.

Except there was just one tinsy winsy problem.

Episode VIII - The Last Jedi was such a betrayal to Star Wars fans that people essentially boycotted the next movie, Solo.  Solo's performance was so bad, it only got an abominable .0019% GDP, a mere 1/20th what Episode VI pulled in.

Or in plain English - Kathleen Kennedy wiped out 95% of the Star Wars franchise value.

Now we have to be fair.  The original trilogy was so revolutionary and from a different time that it really isn't fair to compare Kathleen Kennedy's modern day remakes to George Lucas' original movie productions (remember when Hollywood did those?  Originals?  Never mind, it's a Gen X thing, you youngin's wouldn't understand).  Also, it's not like the Star Wars franchise didn't go down in value with the release of the prequels.  So in intellectual honesty, I opted to compare Kennedy's performance to the prequels, as the franchise had already gone down in value as a consequence of those, and any further deterioration could logically be attributed to Kennedy and her politics.

I won't bore you with the mathematical details (posted below), but the short version is this.  Using the prequels as a baseline, you could expect your average Star Wars movie to earn about .0077% GDP.  Right now with Solo, Kennedy/politics sits at .0019%, a full 75% drop/destruction in the value of the Star Wars franchise.  If you prorate this out, assuming one new Star Wars movie every 4 years and some other mathematical assumptions, the estimated total cost to the Disney shareholders and Disney's profits is around $3.7 billion.  And remember.  That's basing it off the prequels.  It would almost be $7 billion if we included the original trilogy into the baseline.

I need that to sink into the shareholders and corporate executives at Disney, Sony, Century Fox and any other movie makers in Hollywood.

Your politics has CONSERVATIVELY wiped out 75% of the value of the world's most profitable movie franchise and cost you an estimated direct financial cost of $3.7 billion.  You had the golden goose and because you lacked creativity, originality, and cannot simply shuck your SJW, virtue signaling politics, you killed it.  And it's very doubtful if it's ever coming back.


Now, of course the future of Star Wars hinges on many things.

Will you continue to force feed politics into people's fun?


Will Kathleen Kennedy be replaced by a non-ideologue who loves Star Wars and returns it to its original greatness?


Is it so bad that the franchise is essentially dead?

And these questions will be answered in another decade or so.

But if we can stop now, take inventory of the true financial costs and consequences of jamming politics and personal agendas into cherished franchises, and simply follow the common sense rule of NOT putting politics into people's fun, Hollywood is guaranteed to be multiple billions of dollars richer in the future than the path it is currently on now.  Oh, and not that Hollywood cares, the movie going public will be happier and more satisfied as well.


Editor's note: This article was originally published at Captain Capitalism and has been rerun with permission.

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