Discussion The Business Side of Making Episode VII

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Spoilers Allowed' started by Bazinga'd, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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  2. Gallandro Chosen One

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    It's an idiotic article based on a false premise.

    Episode I opened virtually unopposed in theaters, it's only competition at the time was The Mummy and the Matrix which were weeks into their respective releases. Notting Hill (a Julia Roberts film) was released as "counter programming" and did quite well. What the Motley Fool fails to grasp is Episode I performed spectacularly at the box office and ran for months in theaters making a lot of money over an extended period of time. TPM didn't stop making double digit weekly figures until almost two months into its release, and was still bringing in over a million a week until the end of September... that's almost unheard of and speaks to the films legs. Which then raises the second point... films with great legs like TPM do not keep making money if it was "so bad" and "everyone hated it." TPM found its audience and rode it home to box office supremacy that summer.

    Contrast that with Episode II... Episode II ran into a buzzsaw called Spiderman, the first of the modern day mega blockbuster superhero flicks. And unfortunately for AOTC, Spiderman ate into a lot of the same demographic as Clones. It also didn't help that reviews for Clones were far worse than TPM at that time (again I direct people to an older Rotten Tomatoes article which examined the Prequel reviews at the time of their release... numbers are far different than what's on the site today). Then add to that a string of successive, and somewhat unexpected hit films which released in the following weeks (e.g., Sum of All Fears, Scooby-Doo and the Bourne Identity), and big box office dollars were hard to come by. On the other hand, Revenge of the Sith was a solid recovery for the franchise.

    I do agree with the author's general premise that the Sequel Trilogy is a risk, but for a host of different reasons like lousy release date, too much focus on nostalgia (so far), and other factors that work against the films.


    Yancy
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  3. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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    I would not call the article "idiotic". Rather I would say that it oversimplies causation.

    While I think you are right about other factors causing the drop, I dont think you can discount the perceived quality of the TPM for the drop off in box office receipts.
  4. Gallandro Chosen One

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    Sure you can when a film has the legs of the first film. In addition AOTC was working against the media created perception that no one like TPM, which runs completely contradictory to the film's performance at the box office and the fact it was tied for the highest Cinema Score rating of the year with an "A" rating from audiences.

    But the perceived box office performance of the Prequels has little to do with how the Sequel Trilogy will perform. That's where the premise is flawed. We are now almost 15 years removed from TPM and by the time Episode VII hits theaters it will have been over 13 years since a traditional Star Wars theatrical release. There are other factors JJ and company need to address. For example the current powers that be seem singularly focused on the "vibe" of the OT. That's all well and good, but you also have millions of younger fans who grew up with the PT and TCW... you do run the risk of alienating them if you don't throw them a bone. In addition younger audiences are going to have zero feelings of nostalgia for the Big Three going into this film, so JJ needs to play a deft balancing game and make sure the newer heroes of this trilogy do not take a back seat to the Big Three... those are my bigger concerns with the ST.

    Yancy
  5. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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    I agree. I think its a new paradigm as to how the ST will perform. And I dont think it will be based on prior performance, nor on SW loylaty. I would argue that, today's movie audience is more about story and less about visual effect. And brand loyalty has certainly decreased in future years.
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  6. JediGirl_Angelina Force Ghost

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    Ridiculous article. Stopped reading after the generalising statement of "TPM being a bad movie". TMP was not a bad movie. At all.
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  7. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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    ^Over generalized and lacking in establishing causation..Not per se rediculous.

    There is a point to the article, however convoluted.
    Last edited by Bazinga'd, Mar 25, 2014
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  8. EHT New Films Manager

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    Agreed. The first paragraph kills the article:

    "Even if the movie is terrible -- which anyone who saw Episode I: The Phantom Menace knows is possible -- curiosity will bring the movie a huge box office haul."

    I always stop reading when articles stoop to "we all know the prequels sucked, amirite?".
  9. Corvax855 Jedi Grand Master

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    The article also failed to mention the fact that the LotR and Harry Potter sagas began just a few short months before AotC came out, and they took a lot of the wind out of the sails of the PT. I'm not saying they were superior, but Prior to November of 2001 the PT was pretty much the only big kid on the block, so the general audience's attention was quickly distracted when those alternate choices appeared on the scene. Almost all of the hype and fanboy enthusiasm for the PT quickly switched to Fellowship of the Ring when it came out.

    Another major factor that wasn't included in the article was 9/11. The last thing on most people's minds (at the time) was getting hyped for a sequel who's predecessor had mixed reviews. It was a very scary and depressing time for the few months that followed, and a lot of movies suffered, not just AotC. Harry Potter and LotR were more in line with what people wanted to see IMO. When you're feeling down, you're more likely to reach for these more magical fairy tale fantasies, not the final chapters of a tragic sci-fi space opera.
  10. Luukeskywalker Chosen One

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    Does the idiot writer of that article not realise that there was a drop off in box office intake for both ESB and ROTJ compared to ANH? I guess those movies sucked too?

    And yep, as usual the "journalist" has to stoop to making an idiotic statement that everyone has to admit the prequels are bad, as if personal opinion no longer counts when it comes to the PT.

    I am so sick of that rhetoric.

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  11. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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    While I think its bad form to write in absolutes, I also think its equally bad form to tune out arguments one may not want to year. The key to hearing alternative view points, is to be tolerant of them. If they are not credible, attack them with fact and logic, just don't discredit it.
  12. Gallandro Chosen One

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    Yeah it's fairly curious. Here's what the films made during their initial releases:

    Phantom Menace: $431 million (1999 dollars)
    Attack of the Clones $303 million (2002 dollars)
    Revenge of the Sith $380 million (2005 dollars)

    Original films

    Star Wars: $308 million (1977 dollars)
    Empire Strikes Back: $208 million (1980 dollars)
    Return of the Jedi: $252 million (1983 dollars)

    The Prequels pretty much performed like the OT in that the first film made a boatload of money, there was a fairly steep drop with the second film, finally culminating in a much larger draw in the concluding chapter.


    Yancy
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  13. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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    ^ So the issue may not necessary be quality of film, or other films out at the same time.
  14. JediGirl_Angelina Force Ghost

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    So tell me, what points of TPM are considered universally bad? Just because a very vocal group cannot stop bashing the PT even 5-9 years after their release, it doesn't mean they are right. Just as a significant group of fans were not satisfied with the PT, a similarly large group has absolutely no problem enjoying those films.

    You know what's even more ridiculous? That people get payed writing articles like the above.
  15. Bazinga'd SWC/PT/ Spinoff Manager -Destroyer of Spam

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    Dialog for one. Jar Jar is a second.

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  16. Darth_Downunder Chosen One

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    Wow, adjusted for inflation the OT massively outperformed the PT. & that's with far fewer theaters & less moviegoers in general. Amazing
  17. Darth_Downunder Chosen One

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    Writing & acting for starters. Doesn't change or invalidate your personal opinion if you like it though. However nothing will change the fact is it has very "mixed" opinions. Plenty of people like it & plenty of people loathe it. Neither views are right or wrong.
  18. Gallandro Chosen One

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    Actually it didn't, most people make the mistake of including subsequent re-releases, including the Special Edition releases which hyper inflate the numbers. TPM outperformed both TESB and ROTJ during their initial releases.

    Additionally you are failing to take into account box office competition in general. The OT was really the only game in town in the late 70s/early 80s. There was little to no competition for box office dollars as it wasn't until the release of Jaws that term "summer blockbuster" was coined. By the late 90s, big budget box office spectaculars were a dime a dozen, and with the 90s/early 2000s surge of epics like Jurassic Park, Titanic, The Matrix, Spiderman, Harry Potter and the LOTR films, the box office landscape is littered with mega budget opuses.

    Much different landscape... the PT held up quite well.
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  19. Darth_Downunder Chosen One

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    I'd like to see the adjusted returns. I think ticket prices would've doubled between the late 70's & early 2000's. I take your BO competition point, but you have to take into account the far higher number of cinemas for the PT, far wider releases & higher population. The PT also had 20 years of build up, anticipation & goodwill created by the OT as an advantage.
  20. Luukeskywalker Chosen One

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    Yes, to compare the PT grosses to the adjusted for inflation numbers for the OT as apples vs. Apples is just flat out inaccurate. First the landscape 30-35 years ago is not even comparable. The home video market, bootlegs, the digital age, etc. Back then you saw it at the theater and maybe caught it on HBO but you could never really own it until the days of VCR and even then it was a crappy copy recorded with commercials.

    Nowadays, miss it at the theater? No problem, have it on DVD or bluray 3 months later and it looks and sounds better than it would been in the cinema.

    The PT did very well for itself.

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  21. Darth_Downunder Chosen One

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    Agreed, but we'll never know what the returns would've been if it had been overwhelmingly well regarded, esp TPM, rather than having received such a "mixed" response.
  22. BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost

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    It's gonna crack a billion, folks. Even if it only makes 350 mil in North America (probably the lowest end of the spectrum I could think of), foregin box office is really what drives franchises these days. So I could see it making 600 mill just on overseas cash, give or take a bit, add in NA gross and you get a billion. post ROTS the box office take has changed significantly as to where the majority of a flick's cash comes from and generally most blockbuster releases tend to double their north america take. (Sith made more overseas than in North America but that was really at the start of the worldwide box-office take era. now it's increased exceptionally.)
    Last edited by BigAl6ft6, Mar 25, 2014
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  23. Darth_Downunder Chosen One

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    With some of the original cast, probably TIE fighters & Star Destroyers & iconic stuff like that...I think it will do way higher, more like $1.5bn. The younger PT fans will see it + all of the older fans will be on board in their droves.
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  24. Gallandro Chosen One

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    Initial releases only:

    TPM adjusted for inflation made $708 million in its initial release.
    Empire adjusted makes $658 million
    Jedi adjusted makes $672 million
    Revenge of the Sith adjusted would make $495 million making it the 5th highest grossing film in the US (unadjusted) of all time.
    Even the much maligned Attack of the Clones makes $434 million in today's dollars, putting it firmly at number 10 all time if it were released in 2014.

    That's a pretty impressive track record. Now you may be saying ROTS and AOTC suffered a massive drop off yup, but so did Empire and Jedi. In adjusted dollars A New Hope takes a massive $1.19 BILLION dollars in domestic gross.

    Which of course deflates the argument about theater counts and screens. Increased theater counts and screens allow studios to make their money faster, but that ultimately hurts the long term viability of a film at the box office.

    Also look at these numbers:

    In 1977 the small and major studios released a grand total of 48 films in theaters:

    http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/year/1977

    In 1999 small and major studios had released that many films by February 25th:

    http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/year/1999

    Which is why there are larger theater counts for major releases... there are simply more films being released throughout the year, and you make your money by being on lots of screens.


    Yancy
  25. jedijax Force Ghost

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    the movies will obviously be hits no matter what-but the kind of hits-that's a whole different story

    As the article states, the prequels had the "have to see how Darth Vader is made" connection. This new saga needs to have something deep to link into from the beginning. SW can't be a Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, or Star Trek where each film is its own chapter despite the characters. But we will have no idea where they are going unless they set up a HUGE sense of urgency and teasing in the first movie. In other words, it has to have a strong sense of direction in order to maintain the interest and anticipation to become a phenomenon. Otherwise, it's just a decent money maker. (which isn't bad I suppose if there's a profit margin)