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Saga Point of view - George Lucas was right not to listen to the embittered fans

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by SW Saga Fan, Oct 28, 2015.

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  1. SW Saga Fan

    SW Saga Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 19, 2015
    I'm not sure if this is the right board to post this article. heels1785 Bazinga'd if this isn't the right place for this article, please tell me and move it to another board if necessary. But it seems that it fits here since it concerns mostly the PT even if it talks about the entire saga, the OT, The Force Awakens, the TV series and George Lucas.

    This article comes from a French Star Wars fans website Star Wars Universe (SWU). It was written by one of the members of the staff and moderators of the website, PiccoloJr, in which he gives his point of view and an analysis about all the marketing approach for The Force Awakens, the articles on the press and the fans who take any opportunity to talk negatively about the prequels. He describes the reasons why George Lucas was right not to listen to the fans and journalists who have been talking so negatively about him during the last decade.

    This article was published yesterday and was originally written in French, so I had to make the translation in English, and some words may not be right.

    If some of you can understand French, you can read the original article here:

    And I've found a picture illustrating the budget for the making of each Star Wars movies in their box office. In blue, inside the Death Star it's their budget. In grey and black, inside the triangles, it's their box office around the world.

  2. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    Interesting read. That graph at the bottom though shows how vastly more profitable the OT movies were. ANH made about 70 times its budget! ESB 30 times. Whereas TPM made 9 times its budget & AotC 'only' 5.6.
  3. -NaTaLie-

    -NaTaLie- Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 5, 2001
    Keep in mind, most of the OT was released before the proliferation of home video or movie channels like HBO. And ANH had a small budget even by 70s standards.
  4. Alienware

    Alienware Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 19, 2013
    Yes, they were more profitable, just not as much as you say. Production budget should only be taken into account when looking at the film's initial box-office run. Otherwise there are all sorts of inflation numbers that have to be considered.

    For example, let's compare the most profitable film of each respective trilogy (ANH and TPM), but considering only their initial release.
    Worldwide box office: $410 million / Production budget: $11 million = Profits are 37 times its budget.

    Worldwide box office: $924 million / Production budget: $115 million = Profits are 8 times its budget.
  5. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    Yet the profit from the re-releases still needs to be added. It's still profit. You're right that an adjustment should be made to those returns from re-releases but it will still give a result of 50+ times the budget for ANH.

    The point is, that graph is specifically about profitability. Those figures are far more flattering to the OT than the PT. So I'm not sure why it was added.
  6. SW Saga Fan

    SW Saga Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 19, 2015

    The graph wasn't in the article, the reason why I separated it from the quote. I just found it and added it in order to confirm the assertion of the guy who wrote that even if Empire is considered the best Star Wars, it was not as profitable as A New Hope on the time of its release in the 1980's, and Revenge of the Sith was almost as succesful as The Phantom Menace at the Box-office.

    But I don't think you can compare a film's success to another by comparing the films' profits to their respective budgets. Reality about film-making has changed a lot between the 1980's and the 2000's, there's a lot more constraints and costs. For example, the film's crew and actors must be better paid today than they were 30 or 40 years ago. Equipments must be costly than they were 40 years ago and it's not only related to inflation. But still, theaters can't allow themselves to raise too much the price of tickets in order to make the same profitability as 40 years ago, otherwise people won't come to the theaters and might prefer to stay at home and watch the movies on Blu-Ray.
  7. LZM65

    LZM65 Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 24, 2015

    I don't think box office performance is a sign of a movie's quality. I can think of a good number of well made movies or even famous ones that did not perform well at the box office. And I can think of a good number of movies of which I have a low opinion that were box office hits.

    By the way, this was an interesting article. I suspect the author believed that Lucas was right not to allow the fans to dictate his story. And I have to agree with him.
  8. JoshieHewls

    JoshieHewls Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 16, 2013
    While this is true, it is in indicator of a movie's popularity, which was the thesis of the article: these movies aren't reviled like the media and the hardcore fan base would have you believe.

    This guy's saying what I've been saying for years. It makes me feel not so damn crazy.
  9. G-FETT

    G-FETT Chosen One star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    Good article.

    I'd like to see this guy's email in-box! [face_laugh]
  10. -NaTaLie-

    -NaTaLie- Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 5, 2001
    I'd say the perception of the Prequels is more positive in general outside of North America. That doesn't mean no one has similar complaints (acting, dialogue, etc.) but there's a lot less of vitriol. It's also absolutely true that the prequel era made Star Wars very prominent as opposed to just a classic trilogy from the 1980s.

    And I'm certainly glad Lucas didn't listen to some nebulous fan opinion that doesn't really exist in any unified way. Even if I don't agree with all his creative decisions overall the storyline is actually is as unpredictable as you can get away with when everyone already knows the ending.
  11. KenW

    KenW Jedi Knight star 4

    Jan 25, 2015
    I think Hollywood studios respond to embittered fanbases because they're not trying to follow a vision that they have had for decades. That's the difference between catering and creativity. I know Lucas catered to audiences a bit, but not to the level a Hollywood studio would have. If you think this makes for better films, I disagree. I don't think anything that's imperfect in the saga is problematic.

    If it were up to audiences, the prequel soundtrack would have probably had a mix of techno and orchestra, like most soundtracks did in those days.

    I think that bit is quite naive.
  12. Strongbow

    Strongbow Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 6, 2014
    Meh... changed my mind
  13. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 18, 2013
    This seems like something more for the box office thread but obviously trying to compare these two is difficult.

    If you made ANH in 1999 it would not cost only 11M. By the time you pay the actors you are over 11M already. Nor would it cost merely the 30M inflation adjusted number.

    If Lucas wanted to he could have decided to make the movies for a lot less money. As we know the he isn't all about the money. If he was then the history of Star Wars would be very different.

    At the time they were pretty high up though the Spider-Man movies cost a fortune with 139M, 200M and 258M. The first few HP's were also very high and after the first Pirates movie they were runaways trains of spending.

    Of course talking about real profit you have to consider the advertising costs which have been skyrocketing to 200M or more for huge releases now. For the prequels it was more like 100M for that and over 100M for the movie. Now all told it would not be surprising to find out that TFA will cost around 500M in total for production and ads.

    It's relative to the time.

    JW's budget is apparently 150M which is about half of what people think Avatar cost.

    So Avatar was maybe 9x budget while JW is about 11x budget.
    sarlaccsaurs-rex and Andy Wylde like this.
  14. Erkan12

    Erkan12 Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 27, 2013
    Lucas needs more respect. Good article.
  15. GuardianSoulBlade

    GuardianSoulBlade Jedi Knight star 3

    May 26, 2015
    If companies listen to to the fanbase too much, you can lose the audience gained from your other work. I'm happy Lucas did what he wanted with the PT, and I still enjoy the movies to this day.

    If you cater to the fanbase too much you could have a situation like with what happened to the Ben 10 franchise, Ben 10 was a relatively lighthearted superhero show,the second and third series in the franchise brought a little more drama, a better art style, seriousness and character development for the main leads, but split some of the fandom, in an attempt to win back fans of the original series, they tried to go back to the lighthearted fun side, changed the art style too much, and removed two of the leads from the plot, ignored main character Ben's character development for slapstick hijinks, it split the fandom so bad that fans of the previous series ignore the last installment completely (I'm one of those people).
  16. mihaitzateo

    mihaitzateo Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 5, 2015
    I like Prequel trilogy with all digital effects a lot more than original saga.
    Remember that this is a Science fiction movie so digital effects are very normal,
    to be used.
    In the original saga were not used,because were not yet invented.
  17. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    If the article or the graph wanted to compare movie "success" the true measure is cinema attendance. Then you don't have results skewed by ticket inflation.
    A way of reflecting that is to adjust the box office returns for inflation. The adjusted domestic gross for each film (which reflects attendance) including all re-releases (incl TPM 3D) is:

    ANH - $1,485,517,400 (no 2 all time)
    ESB - $818,826,500 (no 12 all time)
    RotJ - $784,455,500 (no 15)
    TPM - $753,202,700 (17)
    RotS - $494,767,000 (61)
    AotC - $445,927,000 (89)

    Two observations. It's a fallacy that ESB performed more poorly than RotJ. There was a steep rise in ticket prices between 1980 & 1983 which inflated the returns of RotJ. ESB also easily outperformed Jedi in its SE release in '97. Similarly AotC is not as far behind RotS in attendance as people think (only 10%). Again, a rise in ticket prices occurred between 2002 & 05 which boosted the returns for RotS.
    Lt. Hija likes this.
  18. sarlaccsaurs-rex

    sarlaccsaurs-rex Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 10, 2007
    I'm lovin' this thread!

    Awesome article. PT defending? EU defending? TCW defending?

    Hell yea, PREACH!
  19. Jedi with a TARDIS

    Jedi with a TARDIS Jedi Knight star 2

    Mar 4, 2013
    All this common sense! It's so refreshing I almost can't take it.
  20. sarlaccsaurs-rex

    sarlaccsaurs-rex Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 10, 2007

    Agreed my head almost exploded, that article was so spot on.
  21. SW Saga Fan

    SW Saga Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 19, 2015

    It seems that the numbers showed in the graph I've posted are worldwide grosses since they are the same here:

    Title StudioWorldwideDomestic / %Overseas / %Year^
    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom MenaceFox$1,027.0 $474.5/46.2%$552.5/53.8%1999^
    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Fox$848.8 $380.3/44.8%$468.5/55.2%2005^
    Star Wars Fox$775.4 $461.0/59.5%$314.4/40.5%1977^
    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones Fox$649.4 $310.7/47.8%$338.7/52.2%2002^
    The Empire Strikes Back Fox$538.4 $290.5/54.0%$247.9/46.0%1980^
    Return of the Jedi Fox$475.1 $309.3/65.1%$165.8/34.9%1983^

    But even if those numbers take into account the multiple releases of the movies all over the world, they are still taken into account by multiple statistics agencies and companies since when a movie is released, it's being released worldwide.
    Jarren_Lee-Saber likes this.
  22. SeventySeven

    SeventySeven Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Jul 18, 2002
    Yes, yes ... forget the tedious rebuttals with stats...let's just have our moment !

    You know I half hoped that as well as the inevitable re-fueling of the flames that would accompany the new film, there would sort of be a re-appraisal as well, however mild. I'll take whatever, as long as someone pipes up and says what needs to be said -- basically if this is what you wanted you have got it this time so it's time the grown ups basically give it a rest now. I say grown ups, but some still act like a bawling child finally given their toy, but continue to scream "but I wanted THAT one...."

    Anyway who cares - PEEAACE !!!
  23. Tyranus_Reborn

    Tyranus_Reborn Jedi Knight star 1

    Dec 7, 2014
    But you can't take the "adjusted for inflation figures", point to tickets sold, and then use that as an empirical measure of a film's popularity. It is an apples-to-oranges comparison. It ignores exogenous variables that are specific to the time of release - cultural factors, economic factors, etc. Just as 1977 is not comparable to 2005, 1939 (Gone With The Wind, all time box office champ, adjusted for inflation) is not comparable to 1977. Now please keep in mind that I am not referring to inherent artistic worth of a given film, nor am I referring to its cultural impact or any other issue of that nature - that is an entirely different matter.
  24. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    You can when you're talking about cinema attendance alone. The no of tickets sold is the literal definition of "popularity" in that case.
    You can only make meaningful box office comparisons between the PT & OT using North America data. The box office records for many other countries were incomplete, inaccurate or completely absent back in the 70's & 80's. So the overseas returns for the OT are significantly undervalued. Also making inflation adjustments across dozens of countries with different currencies & inflation effects is almost impossible.
  25. SeventySeven

    SeventySeven Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Jul 18, 2002
    Ahh...figures schmiggers - the essential heart of the article is true.

    Funny, just the other day I was in a toy store and saw a new Disney badged Grievous lego figure - looked pretty cool. I like the old general, in fact I actually find him quite scary in a way that I never felt about Vader- even when 12.

    Anyway I wondered why have Disney bothered with a PT character ? - one that everyone on the internet keeps writing off as a failure, over the top, to much CGI, was only introduced for money, has a stupid cough etc etc. But I like him, and like a guilty pleasure - I wanted the figure.

    So because it was a bit pricey I found some info on the net, and came across loads of videos mainly by kids showing me how big it was and also how AWESOME it was. Yay - kids love him - I knew he was cool !

    This kind of thing happened all the time from 1999 onwards, secretly enjoying stuff, but being told you were an idiot, yet finding plenty of people going about thier buisness just quietly enjoying it as well. Just like the cartoons. TCW was introduced to righteous indignation - George making more cash. what could be worse than taking 'Citizen Kane' and making it into a cartoon?

    But again - looked good, plenty of people started writing 4/5 star reviews even about the first film length one. Plus - despite them being the worst films ever made, containing characters nobody liked, playing out a boring story, he kept all the film stuff - even Jar Jar. No Tarkovksy eastern cool 'the prequals kinda look OK if you squint like this' re-interpretation. Nope - more of the same. In animation. Including a baby Hutt. What could be more dumb - making a cartoon based on films nobody likes?

    Same thing - I really liked them, and found if I set the right co-ordinates traveling through the net, I could find others did as well.

    This nagging negativity was so persistent though, for years I couldn't understand why anything relating to the prequels was continued to be made - all the way up to me finding this cool lego figure. I was asking who is all this stuff for then?

    Turns out it was for me and millions of others who quietly kept the thing being what it really was - a popular success.
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