From the beginning, Star Wars meant money for its partners, despite George Lucas's stated belief that the original film would be a flop. Deadline reports the new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has big expectations behind it, with the number-crunchers predicting a $615 Million worldwide opening. They note Jurrasic World's $524.4 Million global opening take and its sprint past the $1 Billion mark in just 13 days.
The experts believe The Force Awakens can easily surpass that bar thanks to the "digital world where screen counts can be increased at a last moment's notice to meet theater demand of walk-up business." A distribution system made possible in part by Lucas "encouraging" exhibitors to switch to digital projection during the prequel era. According to the article, "Insiders say that in any given 20-plex in December, Force Awakens will be on at minimum 10 screens."
They also cite the brand's cross-generational appeal — which feels like it's been unlocked from the tomb of prequel disappointments — and Disney's impressive marketing discipline and social media strategy. Deadline quotes an unnamed exhibition president, who says, "Less than four months and counting and nothing is broken so far … There are no terrible stories from the set. The cast is getting along and showing up at events. J.J. Abrams has a body language about him that's positive. The story to me is that Disney and Lucasfilm are acting rationally, confidently and not cocky. They're going about their business instead of reacting."
Which adds up to a projected $300M opening stateside and $315M overseas.
And if there's something besides giant bags of money attached to the Star Wars brand, it's the nostalgic feelings connected to the merchandise. Star Wars products were there from the very beginning. Toymaker Kenner successfully sold an empty box when the demand from consumers in 1977 came at them far quicker than expected. I remember long summer days orchestrating new Imperial offensives in the backyard with all the action figures and vehicles handed down to me by my uncle.
This two-minute ad for Target's Share the Force campaign accesses all those sweet memories, and the new ones being creating when parents who grew up with Star Wars share it with their kids.
Now that's some A+ marketing. It makes me wonder what became of my TIE Fighter…
And lastly, the StarWarsJunk.net Twitter account tweeted this Hasbro store poster that will be at Toys 'R' Us for Force Friday next week. It features Finn front and center, brandishing a lightsaber. I know at least a few people who were trying to discern if he had Luke, Vader or even Obi-Wan Kenobi's saber in the brief moments it appears in yesterday's Instagram teaser. Here, it looks to be a new design, or at least, not in the style of Luke or Obi-Wan.