The Last Jedi Box Office: Forbes & Wall Street Journal Disagree

Around the Galaxy: Star Wars News & Notes - January 30, 2018

Possible spoilers ahead for any number of Star Wars properties, including Droids and Masters of Teräs Käsi…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Late Box Office Receipts Lagging

Star Wars
Did Star Wars: The Last Jedi disappoint?

I fully intended to drop it.

I really did!

However, and recently, both the Wall Street Journal and Forbes posted stories about box office success/demise or The Last Jedi.

So, here goes the 6:00 AM, bleary-eyed breakdown:

Ben Fritz and Erich Schwartzel posted:

With $1.3 billion in global box office for “The Last Jedi,” the most of any movie released in 2017 and No. 9 of all time, Disney ’s (DIS -0.58% ) problems are ones other entertainment companies would kill to have. Nonetheless, for a property as valued as “Star Wars,” any sign audiences are losing faith is concerning and could prove costly down the road if the trend continues.

WSJ cited poor ticket sales late in TLJ run, disappointing toy sales, and a terrible stint in China.

Meanwhile, at Forbes:

Mendelson wrote:

[Assume] you classify The Last Jedi, a movie that earned around 5.75x its approximate $225 million production budget, as a disappointment. It is still the ninth-biggest movie of all time worldwide and the sixth-biggest grosser ever in North America (and should be 40 or 41 when ranked via inflation, ahead of the likes of Goldfinger and Beverly Hills Cop). It may have fallen a little farther from The Force Awakens than a typical Star Wars sequel (-35% instead of -32%, horrors), it’s going to be profitable, and it will help cement Walt Disney’s market share dominance in the realm of top-tier blockbuster franchises, which is really what this is all about.

Too much Star Wars

Both articles mention Solo: A Star Wars Story being a mystery in terms of its viability, with the Wall Street Journal hinting the franchise may have reached a saturation point.

“If audiences need a break from ‘Star Wars’ they won’t get one this year.” wrote Fritz and Schwartzel. “A spinoff focused on a young Han Solo opens Memorial Day weekend.”

“Does this mean that Solo: A Star Wars Story won’t disappoint (whatever that means for a stand-alone Star Wars prequel opening over Memorial Day weekend) or that Episode IX won’t take a downturn from Episode XIII? Maybe, maybe not, but we should remember that much of the entertainment media is something of a circular firing squad,” added Mendelson. “Regular moviegoers mostly thought Last Jedi was either excellent or ‘Fine, I guess,’ as they saw it once or twice and then took the kids to Jumanji. There is little reason to assume those folks won’t show up again in two years’ time, especially if Disney sells it as the end of the Skywalker saga.”

Damning with faint praise?

Unfortunately for Star Wars fans, Mendelson’s piece, which seemingly paints a decent picture regarding the financial acuity of the Saga, reads this time like a damning synopsis of faint praise; gathering, as it does, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lucasfilm, and fairy tail films under the Disney umbrella.

From the outside looking in, this puts Star Wars into Disney’s family picture looking more like one of three above-average children, instead of what it looked like coming out of The Force Awakens – the high achiever of the brood.

One wonders what, if anything, this will mean in the Walt Disney Company boardroom in the months to come.

One hopes that the financial success of the Saga overall allows Lucasfilm the leeway to shoot the films it has to, rather than ones it’s told to…

Rooting against Solo?

Meanwhile, any faith buoyed by Mendelson might be shaken by fellow Forbes contributor Dani Di Placido, who penned an anti-Solo: A Star Wars Story think piece:

Di Placido wrote:

Really, I only want this film to tank so that Disney is frightened, discouraged from telling unnecessary origin stories of iconic characters forever. That’s why I’m still excited about Rian Johnson’s original trilogy, despite my tepid reaction to The Last Jedi. The Star Wars universe is in dire need of fresh material – replaying hits from the seventies is not a sustainable business model.

On the other hand, as someone who — obviously — wants Solo to do well, I take solace in two things.

Di Placido’s rhetorical questions:

And really, does anyone care about how Han first met Chewbacca? Or Lando Calrissian? Or how he had his heart broken by Daenerys Targaryen before he met Leia, or how he starting wearing vests, or whatever?

I wholeheartedly and un-rhetorically answer the above, “YES.”

And then there’s the comfort-giving response of MSW editor-in-chief Jason Ward, who tweeted:

Jason says things plainly, no?

AMC on SASWS

The folks over at AMC, perhaps looking for a little content to promote their Memorial Day lineup, gave us a relative gift with their latest:

I enjoyed the heck out of this one, wondering the whole time, was this approved by Lucasfilm? After all, AMC will (presumably) be selling tickets to Solo: A Star Wars Story.

AMC posted:

Solo is sure to introduce casual viewers to new worlds, but long-term fans will probably recognize some of the locations. Although the Star Wars franchise was relaunched, and the old Expanded Universe is no longer canon, the geography is still the same. It’s the same galaxy, and entire worlds and star-systems have been carried over into the new canon. That means that, although these worlds haven’t appeared on the big screen before, we know a lot more than you’d think.

The rumored introduction of three planets from the EU into current canon, presented here as relative fact, had me scratching my head even as I poured over each word.

Simply put: Bring on the trailer, poster, and ticket sales… Please.

Not so rotten…

The tweet says it all:

Let’s end today’s reading on a high note, here. Happy Tuesday everyone! JB

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.

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