As the force awakens, it's also heating up digital sales.
The newest chapter of the popular film franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will hit theaters this weekend, and it's expected to rake in about $223 million in initial ticket sales. In fact, back in November--a full month prior to the film's release--pre-ticket sales had already surpassed $50 million, as Variety first reported.
Yet Star Wars revenues aren't just coming from box office sales: Related merchandise, spin-off TV series, and smartphone apps help fans to engage more directly with the action.
App Annie, an analytics company, recently tabulated downloads and sales data to rank the top eight best-performing franchise-themed apps. It measured the success of Star Wars apps between December 2014 and November of this year.
"With the movie coming very soon, combined with all the new device activations, we expect the game user base to continue growing over December and January," noted Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, App Annie's VP of Marketing.
Notably, data indicates that Star Wars apps are especially popular in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. While the majority of sales and downloads came from the U.S., Russia and Brazil both had strong download numbers, while the U.K. and Germany contributed significantly to app sales.
Here are the top apps related to the franchise:
Top apps by download:
1. Angry Birds: Star Wars II
Developed by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment, this app is an extension of its flagship Star Wars game (below) which lets you play as one of more than 30 possible characters, including Yoda. You have the option of using the force for good, or joining 'The Pork Side.' It is free for download.
2. Angry Birds Star Wars
This app lets you play Star Wars as a "rebel bird," fighting against the evil "imperial pigs." Free for download.
3. LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles
Created by LEGO Systems, this game involves seven missions and space battles. Users build and control Star Wars characters and vehicles, solve puzzles, and complete challenges. Free for download.
4. Star Wars: Commander
This mobile strategy video game, created by Disney, makes sales from a "freemium" model, a pricing strategy where the game is free, but users must pay for additional features.
5. Star Wars: Uprising
From mobile gaming giant Kabam, this app allows you to unlock content by winning battles. Users may also play with others in real-time. It is free for download.
Top apps by revenue:
App Annie would not disclose sales data, but these are the top rankings.
1. Star Wars: Commander
Disney's Commander app allows users to aim for victory throughout the galaxy by building their base, recruiting and training their army.
2. Star Wars: Force Collection
This card battle game lets users collect more than 230 character cards, which then allow you to build a 'battle formation.' It was created by Konami, a public arcade game company, and is free for download.
3. Star Wars: Card Trader
From card creator Topps, this app lets you collect and trade more than 1,000 licensed Star Wars cards digitally. It is free for download.
4. Knights of the Old Republic
This app, which costs $9.99 to download via Steam or Google Play, is a sophisticated role-playing video game. It was developed by BioWare and LucasArts via Aspyr, a publisher of Mac games.
5. Star Wars: Uprising
Users engage in massive sector battles and create their own powerful characters and crew. The game also allows them to play real-time co-op with friends.