×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Not Expected to Do ‘Force Awakens’ Business, Disney CEO Says

Disney chief Bob Iger said he just met with LucasFilm head Kathleen Kennedy to map out “Star Wars” movies from 2021 and beyond, signalling that the studio is plunging ahead with plans to keep developing the cinematic universe created by George Lucas.

To that end, the studio has already announced two more planned sequels to its series of films centered on the Skywalker clan, as well as spinoffs about a plot to steal plans for the Death Star and a Han Solo origin story. They have also found a writer for another spinoff, expected to debut in 2020. Those films will hit theaters over the next four years, but Iger signaled to investors at a Goldman Sachs conference on Wednesday that Disney is looking beyond that date for ways to exploit the Jedi Knights and space adventurers that populate the fantasy film series. Similar meetings are taking place at Marvel Films, the maker of hugely successful comic book movies, about what the studio will be doing for the next decade, Iger said.

The Disney chief said he had recently seen a rough cut of “Star Wars: Rogue One,” the first standalone film in the series. “It’s really interesting in terms of ‘Star Wars’ storytelling,” he said. “‘Star Wars’ has only been told as a saga, and this is a moment in time … we love what we’ve seen.”

Iger stressed that “Rogue One,” which unfolds before the first “Star Wars,” is not expected to match the box office returns of “The Force Awakens.” That picture racked up nearly $2.1 billion globally to become the third-highest grossing film in history. “We never felt it would do the level that ‘Force Awakens’ did,” Iger said. But based on the response to the trailers and posters, he said “The level of interest [in ‘Rogue One’] is as high as it was for ‘Force Awakens.'”

“Rogue One” has battled some bad publicity, with reports claiming that the movie needed extensive re-shoots. Felicity Jones stars in the film as a member of the Rebel Alliance, tasked with stealing the blueprint for the Empire’s floating fortress, the Death Star.

The Disney chief talked up the film slate as evidence of the success of the company’s decision to make fewer pics in order to focus its resources around tentpole productions that have more global appeal and that lend themselves to toylines and theme park rides. Iger seemed particularly excited about a sequel to “Frozen” that is in development, as well as a reboot of “Spider-Man” that Marvel will oversee in conjunction with Sony Pictures.

There are other changes taking place across the Disney landscape. The company is beginning to experiment with ways to push ESPN into the internet era, announcing that it will look for ways to offer mobile rights to programming through its investment in BAM Tech, Major League Baseball’s digital arm, and other technologies. Part of that may involve dynamic pricing. ESPN may offer customers more targeted packages centered on a season or even a weekend of games. Iger said ESPN’s core pay-television business remains strong, but acknowledged that consumers want to see programming on multiple devices and platforms.

“We’re doing it to reach more sports fans,” said Iger. “We can’t predict where the business goes over time. … We need to be fully prepared for dramatic shifts should they occur.”

More Film

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Box Office

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Conjures $2.8 Million on Thursday Night

    “The Curse of La Llorona,” the latest entry in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” universe, conjured $2.75 million from Thursday preview showings, while “Breakthrough,” a faith-based offering from Fox-Disney, brought in $1.5 million from its second day of screenings. “La Llorona’s” haul tops recent horror counterparts “Pet Sematary” and “Escape Room,” which each took [...]

  • Chinese Films Make the Cannes Lineup,

    Cannes: Chinese Films Make the Lineup, but Will They Make It to France?

    Cannes has chosen two mainland Chinese titles for its official selection: Diao Yinan’s “Wild Goose Lake,” in competition, and Zu Feng’s “Summer of Changsha,” for Un Certain Regard. Both films appear to have received the necessary official approvals from Chinese authorities to premiere overseas. But their journey to the Cote d’Azur is by no means [...]

  • Festival director Thierry Fremaux speaks to

    Cannes: Thierry Fremaux on the Lineup's Record Number of Female Directors, American Cinema and Political Films

    The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled a lineup for its 72nd edition that includes some high-profile Hollywood titles, genre movies and films from 13 female directors. The official selection has been applauded by many for mixing established auteurs like Pedro Almodovar (“Pain and Glory”), Terrence Malick (“A Hidden Life”) and Xavier Dolan (“Matthias and Maxime”) [...]

  • RUDOLF NUREYEV 1961

    Film Review: 'Nureyev'

    It would be absurd to say that Rudolf Nureyev lived, or danced, in anyone’s shadow. He was a man who leapt and twirled and flew onstage, all muscle but light as a feather, with a freedom and force that reconfigured the human spirit. There’s no denying, though, that over the last few decades, and especially [...]

  • Die Kinder Der Toten review

    Film Review: 'Die Kinder Der Toten'

    The hills are alive (or rather, undead), with the sound of music (also mastication and the moaning of zombies) in Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s experimental, dialogue-free, home-movie-style riff on Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder Der Toten” (The Children of the Dead). A seminal text in Jelinek’s native Austria, the 1995 book has never been translated [...]

  • Idol review

    Film Review: 'Idol'

    How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie [...]

  • The Last to See Them review

    Film Review: 'The Last to See Them'

    Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” stretches long as a late-evening shadow over Italian director Sara Summa’s feature debut “The Last to See Them.” The Italian title, “Gli Ultimi Viderli Vivere” which translates literally to “The Last to See Them Alive,” is also the heading of the opening chapter of Capote’s book. The setting is, similarly, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content