While the entire Star Wars series has gotten plenty of Oscar love — 22 nominations, seven wins, and three special technical awards — big-budget franchise films tend to win more in box offices than in Best Picture or Best Directing Oscars.
Those kind of "tentpole" smash hits, which have become Disney's bread and butter, were even mocked in the opening act of the Oscars ceremony, with Jack Black scorning studios "pitching tents for tentpoles and chasing Chinese bucks.”
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Jack Black, on stage at the Oscars on Sunday night.
But the entire Star Wars franchise — the old movies, the rights to make new ones, the TV shows, video games — is worth far more than a few statues. Disney bought Lucasfilm, the home of Star Wars, in 2012 for $4 billion.
Just for comparison, Lucasfilm's $4.05 billion pricetag is just a bit less than the $4.5 billion market capitalization of the independent studio Lionsgate.
And now Disney is making a whole new Star Wars trilogy along with several stand-alone films. Episode VII is scheduled to be released later this year.
So despite the Academy success of Birdman, which was based on an original screenplay and is not part of widely beloved franchise or comic book series, it's the franchises and sequels that dominate the business of Hollywood.