The International Business Times has an interesting article up today about how well Star Wars: The Force Awakens can and will perform. Disney execs are calling for more realistic expectations:
However, despite expectations, it seems now that Disney is worried that it’s setting itself up to be too big of a giant and won’t be able to meet its own hype. To help with that perception, Disney Chairman and CEO, Robert Iger, is clearly hoping to lower expectations.
As enthusiastic as we are for what we know of the film, we have not seen a ‘Star Wars’ film — an original one — since 2005,” he said at the company’s quarterly earnings call (via Entertainment Weekly). “And there are markets around the world that are less familiar with ‘Star Wars’ than, say, the United States, for instance.
I think that is the way to go. Looking back at Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, people thought they weren’t going to be able to keep the products on the shelves. People thought it would “crush Titanic” which was a strange rivalry in the fandom at the time. In the end, they made too much product and even though fans bought truckloads of it, there was still boatloads left behind. The movie performed very well but it wasn’t the biggest movie of all time.
I personally am not seeing a huge difference between the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the hype for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Things have changed a lot since 1999 with international box office shifts in Asia. Perhaps the real fear is that they will not be able to convince Asian markets to embrace Star Wars like Americans are culturally predispositioned to do?
I personally believe that The Force Awakens will be bigger domestically than The Phantom Menace despite the huge ticket price increase. I think Star Wars now has a few generations of fans that have entered the workforce and will be able to spend their income on Star Wars products.
Lowering expectations is always the best way to go. I’m not endorsing cynicism; part of the reason I am up for spoilers is because it allows me enter a film knowing what to expect. I get to be real about what I am going to see.
I think the executives at Disney know that if they make a good Star Wars film it will continue to pay off for years to come. Once they make about $4 billion on the sequel trilogy, plus the 200-300 million on making and marketing the first film, they are going to be very profitable films. They’re wise to not assume they’re going to have the biggest film of all time.