How The Phantom Menace Killed the Star Wars Franchise

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by Jabbadabbado, May 25, 2002.

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    For three years on this forum I argued that TPM squandered Star Wars unique cachet at the box office. People went to see it because it was a Star Wars movie, because of the long wait, because the original trilogy had been so good.

    In short, the public gave Lucas a freebie because of his past accomplishments. Almost out of nostalgia alone, TPM made nearly $1 billion worldwide.

    But, I argued, Star Wars would get no more freebies from the public. Unless Episode 2 were a resounding critical success with stellar word of mouth, it would end up performing like any other summer blockbuster.

    Never have I been so prophetic. If Friday's box office numbers for AOTC show a pattern, as I believe they do, then Episode 2 is going to struggle to make $300 million U.S. The first time ever, in real dollars, when a Star Wars movie has failed to perform in the $450 million range. This will be the first time ever that a Star Wars movie hasn't broken the all-time top five in the year it came out. This year will be the first time that a Star Wars movie hasn't been the number one movie in the year it came out.

    Why? Because the public was willing to forgive a seriously flawed Star Wars movie once, and only once. AOTC despite improvements in some areas, is still a deeply flawed film. The critics saw it, and the public knows it. And you will see it drop 40% plus every week from here on out. The first time ever a Star Wars movie has experienced week-to-week declines in this range.

    Star Wars no longer distinguishes itself from the rest of the big budget summer fluff. We can be glad that there's only going to be one more Star Wars movie, so the greatness of the OT won't be completely overwhelmed by the mediocrity of what Star Wars has become.
  2. darthsidious32 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2000
    star 4
    AOTC is just as flawed, and just as good as the OT.

    And maybe you shouldn't have spoken so soon. Remember, there are also the casual fans of Star Wars who are reluctant to avoid fanboy crowds on opening weekend. They'll be going to the movie now. Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend for business. And I guarantee that AOTC will be out for at least 3 more months other than the required 4-week limit that Lucasfilm said theaters had to follow for AOTC.

    And the last I checked (today) AOTC is doing better than TPM did.

    Believe me, AOTC has been well received by the fans this time. There's no real gusher/basher battle anymore. It's not split down the middle like with TPM. I know that all my friends, whether or not they liked or hated TPM, is digging AOTC. That's all we can ever talk about anymore! In fact, some are even going as far as to say that AOTC is their favorite SW film, or that it's the best one yet.
  3. Oakessteve Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 9, 1999
    star 6
    "AOTC despite improvements in some areas, is still a deeply flawed film."

    Not to bash the Classic Trilogy, but those three films were just as flawed as Attack of the Clones. Although this is only my own experience, on the four occasions I've seen Attack of the Clones (I don't have college anymore, so there's nothing better to do), it's played to packed audiences. Even the mid-day showing yesterday was full. That would seem to indicate to me that the public, or at least the people who live near me, are enjoying the film, and wanting to see it. That doesn't disapprove what you said, but perhaps you shouldn't make such sweeping statements about the public's taste in films.
  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    AOTC is already well behind TPM's day-to-day pace. On its memorial day Friday, TPM dropped about 27% from its opening weekend Friday. AOTC dropped 47%.

    We fans have been talking as if it were written in stone that AOTC would have better legs than Spider-Man, better legs than Harry Potter, than FOTR. Well, it now looks like it may struggle to maintain a better pace than The Mummy Returns.
  5. Sabreman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 11, 2001
    star 2
    I couldn't care less about how well AotC performs at the box office. In my opinion, AotC is a much poorer film than TPM. In fact I would say that AotC makes TPM look like a masterpiece.

    Why do I think this? Well, where do I start? The excruciating scenes between Anakin and Padmé are a good place to start. Now, I never had a problem with Jar Jar in TPM. Give me Jar Jar over the Anakin/Padmé mushy stuff any day.

    The lightsabre duels involving Dooku were mediocre compared with the superb Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan/Maul duel.

    TPM had Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon. I cared about the character of Qui-Gon.

    Christopher Lee was given virtually nothing to do as Dooku.

    AotC Anakin was whiny and irritating whereas TPM Anakin wasn't.

    Sidious was hardly in AotC. Blink and you'll miss him. And why didn't he reveal that he is Palpatine? At least he could have revealed himself as Palpatine to the audience, if not to any of the characters in the film.

    And TPM had the excellent podracing sequence.

    I saw TPM seven times at the cinema, and as a result I was really looking forward to Episode II. I've seen AotC once, and to be perfectly honest, I don't have a great desire to see it again. In fact, if I had to choose between seeing either TPM or AotC again in a cinema, I would choose to see TPM.
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Wierdly enough, and as much as I hate to say it, I agree that Phantom Menace had more "heart", whatever that means, than AOTC.
  7. lono Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 1
    If astronomical BO numbers are the most important thing about a movie, then I guess we all should be worshipping James Cameron?


    Since Empire made less money than ANH, I guess it killed the SW franchise?


    Lono
  8. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Excellent point lono. Bandwagon jumping is not: :cool:
  9. AgentCoop Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    True. Let's all jump on the "No Bandwagon"...err, bandwagon.

    What the heck is a bandwagon, anyway?
  10. son_of_the_tear Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 1999
    star 5
    Sequels never make more thaan the first.

    Are you forgetting that ESB made 200, which was way less than what ANH made.

    What is your point?

    The only reason it cracked the top 10 back then for a while was because in those days, blockbusters were not as common. Star Wars was the first film the term was applied to.

    Now days, blockbusters are common. It is commom now to see films make 200 million.

    You are comparing apples and oranges.

    And anyone can use your argument about ESB.

    It is a sequel. It will never make as much as TPM and it would have been rare if it did.

  11. Oakessteve Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 9, 1999
    star 6
    I thought Jaws was the first film the term blockbuster was applied to? Oh well. Wrong again!
  12. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    SOTT: Sequels never make more thaan the first.

    Never say "never". What about Mummy Returns, Austin Powers II, Rush Hour II, Terminator II, etc....

    I'm not celebrating and dancing a jig just because AOTC is earning less than expected, I'd just thought I'd point ou tthose examples.

    As for the "bandwagon", I'm not sure what it is either, but it's most likely made of CG. [face_laugh]
  13. lono Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 1
    I'm jumping on that big potato bug thing anakin was surfing on in Naboo :D


    Lono
  14. hawk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    I don't know. AOTC really had little advertising down in Australia. What I mean by little is, compared to TPM and Spiderman. I see at least two Spiderman spots everytime I watch t.v. and almost everytime I go to the movies. TPM was the same with t.v. spots plus they had every bag of chips, pepsi, lollies etc known to man. I really feel, down under, we have not recieved a huge campaign by AOTC and that will influence its success.

    But I do feel Jabbadabbado has a point. I don't think people see a new SW film as an event anymore. They see it as a new SW film. SW is getting old and people expect more. Shame, bc AOTC was great.
  15. Ultimate Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2000
    star 3
    1.) One Friday isn't a trend.
    2.) No matter how good TPM was, Episode 2 would always have the handicap of not being the first Star Wars film in 16 years but the second in 3.
    3.) Sequels (especially in the case of large/massive blockbusters) do less business than the originals. ESB did half of ANH despite being viewed by most on the SW community as superior and being the sequel to what was then the biggest movie of all time.
    4.) One Friday isn't a trend. Especially when ALL the movies came in lower than expected on Friday.
    5.) AOTC did have a better critical reaction than TPM, and for an original release as good as ESB. And according to reputable polling companies audience word of mouth ranking it as high or higher than Spider-man, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
    6.) It's still posted the 2nd higest week ever, 2nd fastest to 100 and will be second fastest to 200.
    7.) Star Wars films are typically long distance performers, not one weekend and done performers. Plus AOTC is going to be locked into theatres for a while.

    Don't start dancing a jig yet.
  16. son_of_the_tear Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 1999
    star 5
    Those films are exceptions. But I will clear two of those off your list.

    Terminator was a low budget movie, that was a small hit. But it not make that much money.

    Austin Powers made so little money that in the first weekend, Austin Powers 2 outgrossed the entire run of the original. (see, the movie facts before the previews come on at a theater work for something!)

    It's the Psycho syndrome. Pshycho 2, a horrid movie made way more cash than the original. It was one of the top grossing films of the year. But then again, the original Psycho bombed at theaters.

    The only one on your list that one can truly count is The Mummy, as the first one made a crap load of money already. That is a true exception. But in most cases, sequels never make more.

    Temple Of Doom and Last Crusade made less than Raiders.

    ESB and ROTJ made less than ANH. Hell, ROTJ did better than ESB even, but not suprising as it was the final episode and everybody had to see how it turned out. Was Vader telling the truth? is he the father?

    Lethal Weapon 2 and 3 and 4 made less than the original.

    Batman Returns, made less than the original.

    All these films have one thing in common. They were all hits. And they made less than the originals.

    And just for fun:

    Police Academy 2 - 69, made less than the original classic masterpiece!

    :D
  17. lono Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 1
    I'm glad someone brought up Batman..

    If there ever was an example of the killing a franchise, it was the Batman series. Even then, the decay was slow over several movies until the last one, which was so unbearably bad.


    Lono
  18. Makavelli Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2002
    star 1
    Jabba,
    I'm going to remember all these things you've said when down the road AOTC pulls in good numbers at the Box Office.

    For starters, to compare AOTC's start to TPM's start is insane b/c TPM was the first in 16 years.

    Remember the dropoff Box Office wise from ANH to ESB??!!! OMG, dude, what is your problem?

    The general public has really liked AOTC so far. I can confirm that the teenage age group loves it, whereas TPM was thoroughly despised. Every link, poll, vote, etc. points to AOTC being well liked, so its only a matter of time before Sony's gimicks and cheats to hype Spiderman up to a huge box office performance a la Independence Day wears off.

    Let's not forget Titanic's slow start. It made its money through repeated viewings, something SW will always have, and Spiderman doesn't. Spidey is still making its money off of hype and new people seeing it.
  19. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "As for the "bandwagon", I'm not sure what it is either, but it's most likely made of CG"

    [face_laugh]

    NO it's not! It's a model! You're wrong! :p
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    In real dollars ANH made twice as much as every other Star Wars movie. However, ESB, ROTJ, and TPM all made roughly the same amount in 2002 dollars, roughly in the $450-$470 million range (domestic gross). That said, every movie made less than the one before it, so logically you would expect AOTC to make less. However, expectations based on the previous three movies would lead you to expect a box office gross of $430 million or so in the U.S.

    But based on Friday's gross, that is not going to happen. Even if the weekend recovers somewhat and AOTC only drops 40% or so this week and next and so on, it will struggle to make $300 million in the U.S.

    If as everyone says, AOTC is better, more entertaining than TPM, then there has to be a reason why AOTC is falling off at a much higher rate than TPM.

    My explanation is that TPM shattered the reputation of Star Wars. The public at large has moved on. AOTC is shaping up at the box office like a Planet of the Apes or a Pearl Harbor. Huge opening weekend followed by 40% plus dropoff rates week to week (compared to 20 something % average drop off rates for TPM).
  21. Jar Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 4
    Y'know? After my fourth viewing I am thinking that AOTC has something lacking called closure. TPM had that and I think it will hurt the film. I also think that AOTC has a love story that needed more scenes to fill it out and weren't there. That will hurt it too.

    Overall it's a bigger success with fans and the public but I don't know how much money it will end up making as a result of this seeing as people are looking for problems with it. People seem more stoked about MIB 2, Austin Powers 3, and the Matrix next year than anything Star Wars and love it or not, that will hurt it. It's really not looked at as more than another flick by John Q. Public to tell the truth. Maybe the one with the best fx but that's about it.

    I'm not trying to troll here, I'm just saying that Star Wars isn't as important to everyone as we like to think. Whether or not that's TPM's fault I don't know or care. Frankly, I don't care as long as George makes the films he wants to make and we support him.
  22. topgoalscorer_no11 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3
    I think Episode II has reinvigorated the Star Wars franchise.

    Everybody I know almost to a man hated TPM.

    They ALL thought Episode II was great.

    Three years till Ep III without the stigma of the last film not being very good!!

    But yeah, 110 million in four days.

    Star Wars is dead. [face_plain]

  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Everyone you know is not keeping AOTC from plummeting like a stone at the box office (relative to previous Star Wars movies).
  24. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    Jabba, if people were as disgusted by TPM as you claim, then surely AOTC would have had a lower opening weekend, but it didn't. Since we all seem to agree that AOTC has generally been received more favourably by both fans and regular moviegoers (judging from the high Cinemascore ratings) then I think there are other reasons for AOTC's "disappointing" performance (if we can even call it that at this stage).
    First, AOTC did not have the benefit of 16 years of expectations. That alone would suggest that it would play more like a regular blockbuster than TPM.
    Second, TPM did not have to compete with a juggernaught like Spider-Man at the box office. The only big film released before TPM was The Mummy, and that was already waning in its third week. Spider-Man, on the other hand, has been breaking records every week and Sony has even increased the number of screens for the Memorial Day Weekend. But notice that AOTC's per-screen average on Friday was over twice that of Spidey's.
    Third, AOTC hasn't had the benefit of either huge hype or glowing reviews. Basically, the only thing selling the film at the moment is that it's Star Wars. Sure, all the diehard fans have seen it several times already, but I'm sure there are many moviegoers who are only casual fans of the saga that have avoided the film just because some clown in Entertainment Weekly gave it a bad review. That audience may show up later on once they hear the good word of mouth from others. And AOTC has been receiving good word of mouth. I haven't talked to anyone in the real world who doesn't think it's a big improvement on TPM.
    In the end, AOTC probably will make significantly less than TPM (at least domestically), but I predicted that long before this summer. It will be interesting to watch the international performance, since I think in Europe and other places audiences are less likely to listen to an anti-Lucas media source and just judge the film for themselves.
  25. topgoalscorer_no11 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3
    Yeah, well Jabba, I live in the UK, so I'm not really too concerned about the US box office.

    But don't count your chickens before they've hatched. There's a long way to go in the race yet!

    I'm also everyone's local Star Wars fan so I'm getting the credit for AotC being such a GREAT film, especially after the grief I've had over TPM!

    It's nice to have ones faith in something repaid with a fantastic result like Attack of the Clones, the 2nd best of all Star Wars films.



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