Star Wars’ value to the Burbank entertainment giant goes well beyond the box office. Aside from spawning new video games, toys and theme park attractions, the space opera franchise will play a pivotal role in Disney’s efforts to build an online destination that can rival Netflix when it debuts in 2019.
Turner has landed exclusive basic cable rights to the Star Wars film franchise for TNT and TBS. The deal includes the network premieres of last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as five of the six original Star Wars films, as well as the network television premieres of three future installments.
As Star Wars: The Force Awakens approaches $900 million at the domestic box office, Disney is looking to add significantly to its haul with the sale of free-TV rights to a nine-movie Star Wars package.