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.