Will There Ever Be Too Many Star Wars Movies Made?
Later this month on December 14th, the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy Episode VII: The Last Jedi will be released. In total, this will be the ninth live action film released since Episode IV in 1978. Upcoming we know there will be Episode IX and a second standalone film Solo giving the backstory of Han Solo prior to A New Hope. With the amount of films being released on top of other Star Wars media, this results in an exuberant amount of Star Wars merchandise being released. Media plus merchandise, not to mention the recently unveiled Disney Star Wars theme park, leads to an over saturation of Star Wars. Am I against this? No, I love it! I’m a huge Star Wars fan and can’t get enough of it. But, what does this mean for the Star Wars collectible market? For that answer we need to look at a different property which underwent a similar contemporary revival.
While it was not as popular as Star Wars upon its initial release in the 1980’s, the Transformers have had five live action films released since 2007 with a Transformers six and Bumblebee spinoff movie planned for 2019 and 2018 respectively. Since then, the Transformers market for the vintage toys has had a roller coaster ride with a tremendous peak and spiral down. When the first movie was announced up until the release of the third installment Dark of The Moon in 2011, the Transformers market was climbing with no end in sight. For example, a G1 Optimus Prime open, but complete with all paperwork and nice condition would easily sell for $600 or more. The third film was rather subpar and left fans with a sour taste in their mouth. The fourth installment Age of Extinction in 2014 was the “stick a fork in it” moment for the franchise. What happened was the initial movies created a huge revival in interest for Transformers, were people who never once thought of collecting were now competing for $500, $1,000, and even $2,000 figures. As demand could not meet supply initially prices soared, but as the market blossomed this lead to major liquidations of collections as people who bought pre-movie era could quadruple their initial investment. The rise in value lead to a flooding of the market over time. So, you have an increase in merchandise, now people are getting tired of the films, enter installment five The Last Knight. Present day 2017 the market for average Transformers has flatlined. The Optimus Prime that was once $600 is now $150, maybe $200 if you are lucky. The benefit to the movies was that what was truly rare remains highly sought after rising in value. So where does this leave us with Star Wars.
Just this past November one of the holy grails of Star Wars, a double telescoping Obi-Wan Kenobi sold for $75,000 at auction. That is unbelievable, the previous example to have entered the market over five years ago had sold for roughly $22,000 publicly. Rewind to the release of Episode VII December 2015. While Star Wars has always been more expensive to collect than Transformers, the staple collectible for a Star Wars collector is the twelve back, the initial twelve figures released in 1978. After Episode VII, in our March toy auction we had sold a twelve back Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Han Solo all graded AFA 85 for $6,000 apiece. By December 2016 the market was flooded, and the same figures could be bought for $2,500 online if you were savvy. Fast-forward to present day a week before Episode VIII, the AFA 85 twelve backs are back to around $4,000. Nowhere near their original hype but an increase none the less. It is impossible to predict the future, but Star Wars has already been subject to vast market fluctuation within a two-year period. If Disney continues to create great films, hopefully we will have a sustainable market for the future.