MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” keeps shattering box-office records. The seventh episode of the saga has now brought in over $1 billion worldwide. It’s expected to clear more than $1.5 billion over the next couple of weeks.

So where do all of those box office dollars go? Good Question.

Greg Paape is the general manager at St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis, and he’s selling tickets to the hottest ticket in town. But how much of that money at the box office does he actually see?

“Well the studio actually takes all the money from the ticket sales,” Paape said.

The studios then return about 30 percent of the sales to St. Anthony Main, so the theater is making a little over $3 on a $10 ticket — and that money primarily covers operating costs.

In the case of Star Wars, the longer the movie does well the more generous Disney Studios could become.

“If we end up holding it for four or five or even six weeks, it’s very probable Disney will give us 40 percent or even 50 percent of the split,” Paape said.

But they can’t count on that, which is why many theaters are really in the candy business, not the movie business. While concessions may seem costly to movie-goers, it’s really the force behind the theater.

“If there is money to be made, it’s in concessions,” Paape said.

The studios take a large chunk of the money, but then they have to pay investors. It cost Disney about $200 million to make “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The studio also has to pay the likes of Harrison Ford and others to star in this blockbuster. Ford made the most money, with a $20 million fee out of that $200 million budget.

John Lauritsen

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