With the December 18th release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens rapidly approaching, The Walt Disney Company (DIS  ) begins the first of its efforts to capitalize on its $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilms, the studio behind the Star Wars franchise, in 2012. This is not the first studio acquisition for Disney, as they acquired Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion; so the upcoming release has the chance to further solidify Walt Disney Studios as a major threat in the increasingly competitive film industry.

        The newest installment in the Star Wars saga comes from acclaimed sci-fi director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, LOST) and features stars both old and new-from 2014 Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) to the original Han Solo, Harrison Ford. While the series is relying on modern special effects and cinematography in The Force Awakens, the studio seems to be banking on the franchise's multigenerational appeal when cashing in at the holiday box office.

        All of Disney's changes to the franchise seem to be paying off with record-breaking box office predictions-with conservative forecasts in the $1.95 billion range and more optimistic analysts suggesting it will surpass Avatar's $2.7 billion as the highest grossing film ever. And while the success of The Force Awakens will lay the groundwork for the rest of the franchise within the company, Disney already has five more Star Wars films in the work with one released each year through 2020.

        As the franchise grows and Star Wars regains its pop culture prominence, Disney is relying more than ever on international ticket sales to drive up its box office numbers-with more than half of the projected $2 billion gross coming from outside the United States. Although the franchise is not as popular with overseas audiences as it is with American moviegoers, Disney seems to be investing in the overseas growth of the franchise, specifically in the casting of local Chinese celebrities Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen in Rogue One, coming out in 2016. This move already made headlines in China and will likely drive up ticket sales in a nation largely unfamiliar with the Star Wars saga.

        Beyond the box office, Disney's plans for the Star Wars franchise appear even more lucrative for the company. On screen, there are several animated and live-action Star Wars television series in the works, with Disney eyeing Netflix (NFLX  ) as a potential distributor. Disney has an existing relationship with the online streaming service with the recent release of Marvel's Daredevil in April 2015 and four more Marvel live-action series being added to Netflix's roster in the coming years.

Additionally, Disney recently two 14-acre Star Wars lands that will immerse guests into the franchise's worlds at both Disneyland's California Adventure theme park and Disney World's Hollywood Studios. While Disney has not set a date on when the themed lands would open, the company guaranteed construction would begin by the end of 2017 and analysts predict a 2020 opening. Additionally, Disney recently launched a global Star Wars toy line that is expected to take in over $5 billion in gross sales, adding to the franchise's yield for the company.

        While the first Star Wars reboot will not appear on screens until December 18th, Disney is already capitalizing on its 2012 acquisition and has created a strategic plan to develop the franchise both domestically and internationally as it rolls out six films, two themed lands, at least two television series, and a major toy line over the next six years.