In it’s Thursday “previews”, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker made around 40 million. Not a bad chunk of change, right? That’s more than a lot of movies make in their entire theatrically run. Champagne for everyone? Maybe not.
The Force Awakens did 57 million in previews. And the despised The Last Jedi even did 45. And this one, the big, epic finale of the entire saga that began in 1977 – 43 years in the making – is the least impressive number of the “final” trilogy? Hmmm.
Don’t forget, the preview night is driven by the hard-core fans – the people most dying to see the movie. So the number of people dying to see the big finale is eroding? In modern times, good franchises build their bases from film to film. By making satisfying installments (even if the movies kind of suck – which is often the case). Star Wars is an epic. An epic fail.
But I don’t wanna talk about the reasons why. That’s not the real story here.
The real story is that while Disney has mangled the franchise as much as possible, somehow alienating fans and casual movie-goers alike – it doesn’t really matter.
Oh there may be a little fake head-hanging at Disney over the slippage in numbers, but this is no disaster. People will still go see the movie. It’ll still make over a billion dollars worldwide. Merchandising, theme park business, all the ancillaries will go on. Sure maybe not to the extreme a greedy company like Disney wants, but enough for the profits to keep rolling. Disney stock was trading at about 20 to 30 dollars a share ten years ago. Now it’s close to 150.
So you can hem and haw and nitpick where they went wrong creatively. You can argue they got too “woke” with Star Wars, or they shouldn’t have killed Han Solo, or tried to please everybody, or whatever. None of that shit matters.
Disney will recalibrate, wait a few years, and then launch a new Star Wars series of films. It won’t matter that the “Skywalker” saga is over. They’ll slip in Chewbacca or the droids to bait the hook a little and the money will keep rolling in. The movies can be awful and it won’t matter. So they profit 200 million instead of 500. Oh well. Sure if they stumble onto a good one creatively by accident and get that extra boost then great! Otherwise, no biggie.
Some of the films in the franchise (Phantom Menace?) have been unwatchably bad. And still made a killing. Nothing can kill this brand no matter how hard they try. Star Wars is the gold standard brand of cinema no matter what. It’s a golden goose that may lay two eggs or ten any given time, but they’re still walking away with gold eggs every time! 40 million on preview night! For a poorly reviewed installment and a decaying fanbase!
Oh and by the way they still have Marvel and Pixar too.
Disney wins. Disney always wins.
That’s the real story.