The force is with these 'Star Wars' stocks

A still image from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Source: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The release of the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" this December will not just be a cultural phenomenon, but an economic one with several companies in the movie, merchandise and gaming industries set to ride this unstoppable force to big profits.

So investors are wondering the best ways to trade the return of the seminal science fiction franchise. The obvious answer is Disney, the owner of "Star Wars."

Some investors think the importance of "Star Wars" to Disney can't be overstated.

"The 'Star Wars' franchise is probably the single biggest bright spot for Disney right now. Disney's biggest cash cow, ESPN, very well may already have peaked in terms of total viewership. That's a big deal, as media networks make up about 60 percent of Disney's profits, and this is completely dominated by ESPN," said Charles Sizemore of Sizemore Capital in an email.

He added, "Disney will need strong performance from its studios to keep Wall Street happy. The latest 'Star Wars' installment may very well prove to be the highest-grossing movie in history, and it may break all merchandising records, as well."

Stifel's Benjamin Mogil forecasted the movie become the second-highest grossing movie ever after Avatar bringing in $2.2 billion worldwide.

Box office success then leads to revenue in other areas for Disney.

"We are both supporting and benefiting from 'Star Wars' across every part of the company from theme parks to television to games," Thomas Staggs, Disney's chief operating officer, said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference on Sept. 10, according to a FactSet transcript.

Disney announced in August the company will build out "Star Wars"-themed lands in the Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Other than Disney, investors are looking for companies that will take advantage of the reemergence of Star Wars and report better-than-expected financial performance.

Here are three stocks Wall Street analysts recommend on the "Star Wars" theme.