Remember where you heard it first. Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out while the rest of the world was predicting ridiculous box office numbers for the new-highly anticipated movie, and reviewers hungry to retouch their childhoods were pandering to the Disney machine for freebies to give their kids for Christmas to show they had industry “connections,” I predicted what would happen to the franchise if the movie turned out to be bad—or to stray off formula. (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SEGMENT I DID ON THIS VERY TOPIC ALONG WITH MATT CLARK) I had said that taken by itself The Force Awakens wasn’t a bad film—it was on par with the Star Trek films and would be profitable. But it wasn’t magical—it wasn’t deep, or even loyal to the vision that George Lucas had created. It was equivalent to a child sneaking into their parents’ bedroom and wearing their cloths to feel like they were all grown up. The film makers from top to bottom were eager to make a very expensive fan film suitable for a convention showing—not a legitimate entry into the overall mythology. They loved paying a tribute to the Millennium Falcon the way they always dreamed as kids, and to see Han Solo one last time even though the aging actor wanted way too much money for the role to return soaking up a lot of the salary leaving the rest of the cast looking a little resentful. It shows in their performance on-screen. If George Lucas had been more involved, the film would have been better, more intelligent, and would have likely hit many more high marks. But Disney pushed out the original creator and made a two-hour commercial that fans quickly detected as a fake. After the initial showings the film lost steam and was nearly forgotten about only one month after its December release. Now the film is losing ground quickly and will not break all the records it could have. Even with all its success it will be considered a failure because it has now damaged the overall mythology of the ambitious Disney acquisition—because they didn’t listen—they approached the project all wrong—and now they are going to pay for it—sadly. Here is an article confirming what I’ve said from The Inquisitir.
Star Wars box office speculation has been something of a pastime around the internet since Episode VII: The Force Awakens opened in theaters on Dec. 17.
Most analysts predicted big things from the first official “canon” entry since Revenge of the Sith (and some prequels-haters would say Return of the Jedi).
Still, none expected The Force Awakens to smash through domestic box office records as quickly as it did. Naturally, when it eclipsed Avatar, many wondered if the global box office record held by James Cameron’s sci-fi epic would be next.
But as The Force Awakens continues to fizzle out, it looks like it will be lucky to take the No. 2 slot ahead of Cameron’s Titanic.
Of course, that isn’t to say that TFA has any reason for shame. It only cost around $200 million to make it, and it blew past that total in its extended opening weekend.
But there is cause for concern when it comes to the long-term prospect of Star Wars box office gold.
Now, the precursor to this conclusion should note that Star Wars box office numbers will never be in the red. For as long as they continue to make movies and budget semi-wisely, Disney should be able to turn a profit.
But prior to the release of the new film, the George Lucas-created franchise had an untouchable mystique about it that now is in question since Avatar will likely hold onto its all-time box office title (and Cameron has plans for more to come).
Here are a few indications that it could be all downhill from here for subsequent Star Wars box office performance.
Firstly, it’s a fast burn.
The daily averages per Box Office Mojo are falling by about $10 million per week. That means the likelihood of Star Wars: The Force Awakens getting a 238-day run (as Avatar did) are slim. Cameron’s beast ate the elephant one bite at a time, while Disney tried to shovel it all in during the first few weeks, so to speak. This is unlikely to change with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Episode VIII.
Believe me; this news isn’t happy for me. I really wanted to love the new Star Wars movie. I had hoped that it would be a cultural leap for a new generation. Instead it was a political film, much the way Avatar was—an anti capitalist endeavor that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Avatar was so visually spectacular that people went to see it at IMAX theaters in 3D paying more than usual for the ticket prices. But it didn’t hide its liberal leanings and as a result Middle America lost their ambition for the film eventually. I doubt that the second one will do so well now that the anticipation is gone. I was one of the people who loved Jim Cameron because of Titanic and the Terminator movies—so I was there to help Avatar have a strong opening. We went to an early screening just as we did for The Force Awakens. But in both cases I left the theater realizing that these modern blockbusters did not have the same punch that older films had during the 80s because their politics were off and they lacked an intelligence that would be quoted for the next 30 years. These new films were nostalgic pieces only for hungry movie goers desperately seeking meaning for something.
If The Force Awakens had stayed on course to the overall Star Wars mythology that had been built for three decades through books, comics, games and the original motion pictures rooted in experimental filmmaking it could have made $3 billion dollars and easily toppled Avatar because of the way that modern box office receipts are calculated globally. But Disney acting like a teenage boy trying to eradicate their virginity ejaculated pre-maturely—and now they have a reputation with Star Wars fans as a company that can hold their load. People will still like the future Star Wars movies, but they won’t look at them like a religion—and that is very unfortunate because people wanted to feel that way—and Disney could have made more money and still provided a better social mechanism that would endure for another century. Now, to many Star Wars fans—just as I said would happen once Han Solo was killed off and that Disney didn’t follow the expanded universe stories that hard-core fans loved—The Force Awakens is just another tooth paste commercial—not a deep dive journey into an obscure way of thinking—there is no wisdom from Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi about the Force. It was just Han Solo making Harrison Ford faces one last time. Now that he’s gone—now what? Are people going to strive to see the formally beautiful Princess Leia killed off? I don’t think so. Or to watch Luke suffer through guilt and anxiety after being poised to be a wonderful Jedi Master that he strove to be after the three original films? Are the new characters so compelling that people will line up to see them on their next adventure? While it’s not their fault—the answer is no. The Force Awakens was essentially a remake of A New Hope without all the newness shown in that original movie which played in theaters a year after its release and is still watched by many who have seen it hundreds of times any time it is shown on television. The Force Awakens killed Star Wars. My feelings after watching the movie were that it was time to move on to something else—because it was obvious that I had seen the end of the series with the prequels directed by George Lucas. People can say what they want about those films—but they expanded the vision and were boldly original. These Disney films cannot say the same.
While Disney executives will declare publicly that they are happy with The Force Awakens box office results I am 100% sure that they are concerned about the next five movies they have planned. I agree with The Inquisitir article, the movies will be profitable, but they won’t be so loved that they drive fans to all the peripheral material—the toys, the books, and the games. There was always more money in the merchandise than there was in the movies but to get at it, Disney had to respect the mythology and not use political activism to change the nature of the product expecting people to stick with them regardless—just to see the Millennium Falcon fly through some trees and land in the snow. As a grown man I have several Star Wars t-shirts, many of them featuring the Millennium Falcon. I am considering making them into the type of shirts that I’d wear to work on a car to get dirty instead of being carefully pressed the way they were before seeing The Force Awakens. And I didn’t want to feel that way. I just do because Disney did not respect me as a fan so they destroyed their own market share because of it. And rather than gloat about it now I can only say that I feel sorry for the kids who won’t get to experience Star Wars the way George Lucas had designed it. The franchise has died and it is painful to see, because it didn’t have to happen. If only Disney had listened. I know I certainly did my part. CLICK THE LINKS ABOVE throughout this article to learn more.
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman