Disney, Lucasfilm Gear Up For Force Friday

Disney and Lucasfilm are combining forces this week with a launching party called Force Friday.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, does not open in theaters until December, but that’s an awkward time to begin selling merchandise, what with the holiday season sales mostly in the rear view mirror at that point.

So, merchandise sales — towels, tee-shirts, posters, toys, more toys, programs, computer games, jackets, more toys, coffee mugs and all the above — will be launched on Friday with the event preceded by ab 18-hour on line display event, so consumers can plan their orders ahead of time.

A stock analyst said Monday that the December-slated blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, could pocket the Disney company $5 billion in sales in the first year that do not include box office receipts.

The analyst said Disney could expecte sales to surpass Cars 2, which generated $3 billion in merchandise sales, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The report was based on an investors advisory from Macquarie Securities. Stock analyst Tim Nolle said Disney stock had dropped 16 percent in recent weeks, but new revenue streams are just around the corner. Points in Disney’s favor included the start of the football season, the opening of Shanghai Disneyland and upcoming Star Wars release.

According to Nolle, “It’s not clear how to model this as we can’t name a similar such event. But looking at another successful Disney franchise, Cars 2 sold more than $2.8 billion worth of merchandise in its first year alone in 2011, and the original Cars movie sold approximately $10 billion worth of merchandise in its first five years or release.”

Taking into account the strength of the Star Wars franchise, which has altogether sold over $20 billion worth of licensed goods in its lifetime, we can estimate that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could perhaps bring in merchandise sales of $5 billion in the first year.”