How The Phantom Menace Killed the Star Wars Franchise

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. funky-gonk-droid Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2002
    star 1
    I think AOTC is going to do the business later in the year when the DVD comes out. If there was ever a movie to fully utilise the DVD format then it's AOTC. I've only ever seen the movie in non digital theatres, so I'm likely to enjoy the movie more at home in the digital format for which it was designed to be shown.
    I think it looks like Jabba maybe prooved right with regards to AOTC's US Box office, Although the International box office does speak for itself. It does have to be said having a film like Spiderman come out at the same time hasn't helped it.
  2. Jedi_Chakra_Khan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2000
    AOTC's relatively low box office figures has more to do with the fact that its story is not traditional "blockbuster" fare. It's very dark, with a mass murderer/eventual bad guy as one of its main protagonist (Anakin). This is why hard core fans seem to like AoTC more than TPM, but, for the general audience, TPM was clearly more traditional "summer popcorn fare" than AOTC, and so was more suitable for repeat viewing.

    Face it, AOTC, even though it's very good, doesn't make for repeat viewing like TPM. AOTC is a very dense, emotionally draining film, and so it makes sense that the general audience, even though it has given the movie great reviews (A-), will not see it again at the rate that they saw TPM.

    Also, the prequels probably have lost the much older audience (40 +), as the prequels have a more narrow sci-fantasy appeal (with all the insider referencing in the films) that will not attract the typical older moviegoer. And this isn't due to the quality of the films, but, the subject matter of the prequels (set-up for the Original Trilogy).
  3. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    I think AOTC is much more deserving of repeat viewings than TPM. I mean Episode I was a good film, but some people here saw it 30+ times! :)
    AOTC should get 60 viewing from those same people, but the excitement doesn't seem to be there this time, even though the film is clearly better. But who am I to talk? I've only seen AOTC twice so far (third viewing tomorrow, hopefully). Maybe we're to blame for the quick fall-off :)
  4. Oakessteve Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 9, 1999
    star 6
    I've seen it five times, embarrassingly enough, and I'm likely to have seen it two more times by the end of this week! Maybe I should just write a cheque and send it off to George. Oh no, I don't have a cheque book. D'oh!
  5. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    I really hate to say this but after seeing AOTCs box office gross for this last weekend, it looks like Jabbadabbado might be right about it struggling to reach $300. $20 million for a 3rd weekend for a Star Wars film is pathetic. I know AOTC is making a TON of money overseas where it faces little competition and less finicky audiences but still... $20 mil is sad.

    So consider this my apology to the author of this thread for not seeing the struggle AOTC is having.

  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Strilo, the best form of apology would be to leave my quote in your signature for another month. :)

    Also, I think the international box office is deceptive. The weekly declines there in most countries are similar to the U.S., with the big exception of the UK where AOTC seems to have captured the public's imagination.

    In the end, it's not going to make more than $350 million abroad.

    $625-$650 million worldwide is my guess for AOTC's total. To be fair, this will put it at number 12 on the all-time box office list. But it will be the first Star Wars movie not to crack the top five at the time of its release. And as I've said, it doesn't come close to the OT/TPM totals if you adjust for inflation.
  7. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    AOTC is not doing bad at all. So it had some large films to compete with this last weekend. Trust me, AOTC will be in theaters much longer than SOAF.
  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    In terms of "killing the franchise" I hope that George Lucas learns the right lessons from AOTC.

    The wrong lesson would be to somehow try to contort Episode 3's story to accommodate the slapstick humor and cartoony elements of The Phantom Menace.

    TPM was a botched opportunity to make a movie with genuine appeal for little children. Episode 3 is the wrong venue for experimenting again with that failed concept.
  9. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    He isn't going to change anything. Episode III will be what Episode III was always going to be. A dark ending to the first trilogy.
  10. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    The only people that need to "learn their lesson" about the prequels are critics and certain fans. IMO.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    GMT, I sincerely hope you're right. As a fan, I want it to be as dark and tragic as the story demands. But above all, I want it to be good, and better than TPM and AOTC.

    However, if Episode 3 is as dark as it has to be, without paying more attention to character development/dialogue than TPM and AOTC, then Episode 3 will have a hard time even earning its investment back.

    If it makes the same mistakes as AOTC, yet adopts a bleaker tone, it will absolutely fail. Episode 3 presents the greatest challenge GL has ever faced as a writer and director.
  12. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    AOTC is not doing bad at all. So it had some large films to compete with this last weekend. Trust me, AOTC will be in theaters much longer than SOAF.

    But see... during the summer months, every weekend is a challenge. So what if Sum of All Fears is gone after 3 weeks. Three more films will open in it's place. If it's not SOAF then it will be Minority Report or Austin Powers 2 or Men In Black II.

    AOTC's box office performance will not get any better from here. I think that is almost a certainty at this point. There's no way it will make even close to the $20 mil it made this last weekend. As much as it bothers me, this I believe to be true. AOTC will be lucky to make $300 million in the U.S. Does this affect my feelings about the film? Not in the slightest. I still love it and think it is second only to ESB overall.


    Strilo, the best form of apology would be to leave my quote in your signature for another month.

    I think my apology stands on it's own. My signature has now reverted to something more characteristic for me.
  13. Darth23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 4
    I know I'm coming into thist hread really late, but I'd like to mention a few things.

    First of all if AOTC fails to perform spectacularly at the box office its the fault of AOTC, NOT TPM. A movie is responsible fro how much money it makes, and especially what kind of legs it has. Does anyone say that ESB relatively poor box office performance is because Star Wars - ANH killed the franchise?

    Of course not. If a movie has devent legs it's becuase there's something in the movie that keeps bringing people back. AOTC had nd even bogger openig that TPM, and somewhat better critical reviews. If it didn't perform as well after people has actualy started seeing it, I don't think it's because of resentment ofer TPM.


    Second - AOTC is basically performing like a sequel to TPM - bigger opening higher drops. This isn't that surprising, all things considered. Sure there are some sequels recently that have out performed the originals, but in most cases the originals were not widely hyped/released/known before they came out.


    Third - I think a major reason why AOTC is underperforming compared to TPM is simply because fo the LACK of the yippie/kiddie/Jar Jar factor. I know it's really popular for older fans to trash this aspect of TPM, but the fact remains that kids and families are an important part of the B.O. picture. Look at how many of the top 10 films have a strong kid/family appeal.

    AOTC is 'darker' and 'more mature', which means there's less in the movie to appeal to kids and less to bring them and their families back again. You wanted a more 'adult' Star Wars? You got it, along with the B.O. performance that goes with it. ;)

    ---------------------------

    Finally I'd just like to say that it seems as the the No-Win situation for TPM continues:

    If AOTC were to out-gross TPM then that would be used as proof that TPM wasn't as good and that AOTC 'saved' the franchise.

    Since AOTC probably WON'T out-gross TPM, that's being used as proof that TPM wasn't as good as AOTC and 'ruined' the franchise.

    With either result TPM loses. (heads AOTC wins, tails TPM loses)
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Darth23 wrote: "AOTC is 'darker' and 'more mature', which means there's less in the movie to appeal to kids and less to bring them and their families back again. You wanted a more 'adult' Star Wars? You got it, along with the B.O. performance that goes with it."

    Those things can be said about Spider-Man. Spider-Man even has the PG13 rating to discourage little kids. Yet it is going to come much closer to TPM's box office in the U.S. than AOTC. So, you can't really blame the loss of the 4-7 crowd for AOTC's box office performance.

    Indeed, the merchandising tie-ins for AOTC (snack foods and sweetened breakfast cereals) are mercifully toned down from TPM yet still make clear that George Lucas absolutely felt he was marketing AOTC to children as well as adults.
  15. BanMePleez Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2002
    Some Star Wars fans don't know what good character development or acting is. IE, Jabbadabbadoo.

    Lucas himself has said this trilogy is more character driven and that the OT is a plot driven series. But its own fans are too dumb to realize that b/c they don't know what character development is!! They think its when Han Solo delivers a sarcastic line that gets the audience roaring, no, its when Han Solo delivers a thoughtful line showing his real character, that's the real development.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    That's funny, because Lucas has it backwards. AOTC has a plot that's superior to all the OT movies save ANH, but it has half the character development and none of the emotional appeal.

    It would be ludicrous to call any of the Star Wars movies "character-driven dramas." I'm just saying that the OT does a far superior job of character development than the PT, and even GL ought to recognize that. But he's in the business of selling the PTs now, so of course he's not going to admit it.

    "I love you," "I know" (yes I know it was ad-libbed) does more for real, authentic character development than any line in the PT. Leia admits her feelings and Han stays true to his character. Plus it's humorous. Humor is what's most missing from the PT next to genuinely appealing characters and real emotional content.
  17. LordSortha Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Darth23 and BanMePleez said everything I would have said.
  18. FatherVader Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 1
    KKKKKKKKKen just likes to bash Star Wars..


    He has been ripping AOTC's over on the Ep.2 board just like he is bashing TPM here...


    The guy is a trip.
  19. Bud Frescoe Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2000
    star 3
    But that doesn't change the fact that he was right about the box office decline of AOTC ...

    Speaking of which, didn't George himself say that if AOTC didn't make $300 million domestically he would have to take a serious look at what he was doing?
  20. FatherVader Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 1
    ^Well I do not see KKKKKKKKKen as being right about Ep.2 because I was thinking all the time it was not going to make more than 300-320 if that.


    Only the hardcore fanboys were thinking it would out gross TPM.


    But KKKKKKKKen just does not like the PT. TPM was OK maybe a 5 out of ten but still fun. I would say AOTC's was more like 8-10.


    So be it.
  21. funky-gonk-droid Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2002
    star 1
    Hopefully George meant the marketing of EP3 and not the toning down of the Drama, which is paramount to EP 3's place in the Saga.
    If George Under achieves with the next one (and I mean on an artistic level and not just on a money level) Then that will be the final nail in the coffin for the PT. Ep 3 is the one movie where the special effects won't save shoddy performances. I'm hoping GL will build a few more real world sets for EP 3 so the actors are given half a chance to act. I happen to think that the PT so far has been pretty good, but I don't think there will be any middle ground for Ep 3. It has to be better than alright or it will be just the amunition the bashers will need to declare that the PT was a failure.
  22. Ulaleros Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2001
    star 2
    yeah, it is the other way around...pt is about plot and ot is about characters. the ot was much more archetypal, avoiding convoluted plots and such, it was a simple basic premise. but in the pt, the plot is much more intricate, political maneuvering, separatists, senate procedures etc. its not nearly so intricate in the ot.

    also, in contrast to what gomer said...lucas did actually say he would have to change things about episode 3 if episode 2 did not make enough money. but i think lucas actually said, if aotc made 205 million then it would a disappointment. i think he said he would be satisfied with 280 million or something like that.
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think that's right. He said $285 million would be "ok." It's not clear that AOTC will do even that much, but at least it passed the $205 million mark that Lucas described as the point at which he'd be forced to rethink things.

    But that quote definitely nails home the fact that Lucas expected AOTC to do better than $300 million and is, at best, only marginally pleased with its U.S. gross.
  24. StarWarsForever Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    I think SW fans are harder on the franchise than the critics at times. To me, TPM fit in with the entire saga thus far, and was an excellent movie. I still think it has some of the best scenes of the series, and will be an appropriate first chapter to this six-chapter saga. As for ATOC, I like the movie better than TPM, and actually better than the PT (even ESB. As for $$$gross-who cares? 2002 is a totally different world than 1977, 1980, 1983, or even 1999. There are more movies, more marketing, and more competition. SW hasn't changed, movies have. Lucas dropped the hype to a degree, showed the film on less screens, and will still do very well. To have a movie make more than $300 million (which it most certainly will before it ends)when it first came out in 1977 is absolutely amazing. Name one other film which can do that. Godfather III? Lethan Weapon III-IV? Batman whatever? Superman III-IV? Even the successful franchises cannot come close to the cultural relevance and even financial boom of Star Wars. Years from now, when the SW saga is on DVD as the most popular set ever, it will continue to gain fans and be a milestone of movie history. So don't be so negative, SW fans, for "rumors of (SW's demise) have been greatly exaggerated". The magic lives on. Just enjoy it.
  25. baggles Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    If you read that interview with George, it seems pretty clear that we was referring the SFX budget if AOTC didn't make $250 million.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.