Disney Comes Out Fighting On Acquisition Returns

As much as we wail and gnash our teeth at the almost complete creative collapse of Disney over the past near-decade, only one thing really, truly matters in Hollywood – money. It is why studio heads can pump out absolute dreck, but as long as it turns a profit, they are safe in their roles.

That’s not necessarily a profit on the official balance sheet either. By the time the borderline illegal Hollywood accounting rules have been run over the P&L for a production, the movie can look like a failure on a spreadsheet, and still be the toast of the lot behind the scenes. Here is your regular reminder that, officially, Return Of The Jedi is yet to make a profit.


Still, studios are part of major corporations and those corporations have to tell a good story to their shareholders, because that’s how this works. In an effort to do so, Disney has been out and about lauding its acquisitions.

Dark Horizons reports that at a VoteDisney.com event (covered in The Wrap) earlier this week, Disney claimed that Marvel and Star Wars have yielded $25 billion for the company, with both major acquisitions having paid out around three times what Disney paid for them.

The claim included numbers. Star Wars has generated a 2.9x return on investment, Marvel a3.3x yield, and Pixar paid back 5.5x. The numbers incorporate revenue streams from theatrical releases, home entertainment, TV, and consumer products. They exclude other sources like theme park attractions, direct-to-consumer originals, or pre-established products related to the franchises before the acquisitions.

This trumpeting of the success of strategy comes as activist investors with Trian Fund Management and Blackwells Capital continue to make waves among shareholders.

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