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Bob Iger Talks About Star Wars At Earnings Call

Disney presented their Q1/2020 earnings yesterday (their Q1 is the fourth quarter of 2019). I will not dwell on the numbers, instead I want to talk about what Disney had to say about Star Wars. Bob Iger didn’t reveal all that much, but a few interesting details were mentioned in their report and earnings call, including plans for The Mandalorian. Click through for more!

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Disney’s Q1/2020 beat expectations and made analysts happy. But I don’t want to focus on the numbers here. Star Wars was mentioned several times and let’s talk about what Disney had to say about the franchise.

Disney+ has, and these are the very latest numbers from Monday, 28.6 million subscribers. The streaming service is catching on with audiences. About 20% of these subscribers come from the Verizon free trial deal, about 50% signed up through the Disney+ website.

The new theme park ride “Rise of the Resistance” is doing “extremely well” and per capita spending in the domestic theme parks has increased once more. Revenue increased by 10% Attendance has also increased a little bit again, but the increased per capita spending is the major factor here.

Unfortunately Disney provided no details about income from merchandise licensing. They only said that earnings have increased due to increased sales of merchandise based on Frozen, Star Wars and Toy Story.

Bob Iger then adressed Star Wars in a bit more detail. According to Iger Disney feels “great” about the popularity of their brands. Iger also explained again that the reason the sequel trilogy and other movies never really caught in China is that these movies required prior knowledge people in China didn’t have and that they didn’t want to get on board late.

Bob Iger once more confirmed that Disney will take a hiatus as far as theatrical releases of Star Wars movies are concerned.

And then Iger talks about the various Disney+ Star Wars shows, and things get a bit more interesting here:

The priority in the next few years is television with The Mandalorian Season 2 coming in October and then more coming from The Mandalorian thereafter, including the possibility of infusing it with more characters and the possibility of taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series and then we have a prequel to Rogue One and Kenobi One series also in development.

So the priority for Star Wars in the short-term is going to be, I’ll call it television for Disney+ and then we will have more to say about development of theatrical soon after that, but 2020 is not going to be the same as 2019 for the studio, but we still expect a very strong year and given the franchises and the talent that we both work with and have working for us, we are confident that the studio is going to continue to be a strong driver of operating income for the company, both on the movie front, but also as a great supplier of product both original and secondary market for Disney+ and for Hulu, by the way.

So Disney apparently has some plans for The Mandalorian. I am not sure how I feel about the idea of infusing the show with more characters. I think one of the strong points of the series is a focus on the title character, with varying guest stars. Is Disney actually thinking about Mandalorian spin off shows here? I am not sure if that would be a good idea. I think Lucasfilm should absolutely develop a series that focuses on the Jedi / Sith instead of just bounty hunters.

Also, they way Iger phrased things, it seems Disney is not ready yet to disclose any future plans for the movies.

And that’s basically it. Disney has plans for the Mandalorian, it seems a season 3 was all but confirmed already, there’s the possibility of spin-offs and other than that Disney is feeling great about the popularity of the brand.

Nothing was said about the toy license. Maybe Toy Fair will give us more news here.

Read the earnings call transcript

Disney Q1/2020 financial report (PDF file)

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