Disney might be the world's biggest entertainment company, but its only Oscar wins this year were for Big Hero 6 and Feast, two animated film awards.
But that didn't stop Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife, Willow Bay, from showing up to the industry's biggest night.
Hang on a second. Let's back things up.
Yes, an elderly Jedi master that is. Willow Bay, former model and TV reporter and current director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, rocked Yoda at the Oscars.
While the entire Star Wars series has gotten plenty of Oscar love — 22 nominations, seven wins, and three special technical awards — big-budget franchise films tend to win more in box offices than in Best Picture or Best Directing Oscars.
Those kind of "tentpole" smash hits, which have become Disney's bread and butter, were even mocked in the opening act of the Oscars ceremony, with Jack Black scorning studios "pitching tents for tentpoles and chasing Chinese bucks.”
But the entire Star Wars franchise — the old movies, the rights to make new ones, the TV shows, video games — is worth far more than a few statues. Disney bought Lucasfilm, the home of Star Wars, in 2012 for $4 billion.
Just for comparison, Lucasfilm's $4.05 billion pricetag is just a bit less than the $4.5 billion market capitalization of the independent studio Lionsgate.
And now Disney is making a whole new Star Wars trilogy along with several stand-alone films. Episode VII is scheduled to be released later this year.
So despite the Academy success of Birdman, which was based on an original screenplay and is not part of widely beloved franchise or comic book series, it's the franchises and sequels that dominate the business of Hollywood.
And nobody knows the importance of franchises better than Bob Iger and Willow Bay. As far as Iger's shareholders are concerned, the Force is strong with this one. Do or do not...
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at email@example.com.
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