The latest installment of the Star Wars saga – The Force Awakens – has been well received by critics and fans alike. Achieving that balance could not have been as easy task for Lawrence Kasdan, JJ Abrams, the old and new performance crews and new owners of the franchise, Disney.
In reclaiming much of the magic of the original trilogy, The Force Awakens has managed to excite three generations of moviegoers. This multi-generational appeal and the huge word of mouth attraction generated by a series that has become a major pop cultural artifact has the movie on track to become perhaps the biggest box office success in cinema history.
While box office receipts still put classics such as Gone With the Wind on top when adjusted for population and changes in currency valuation, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, James Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic currently rule the roost in the first and second positions. There are still only 24 films that have ever exceeded $1 billion in worldwide box office receipts, with Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace previously the best performer of the Star Wars franchise, in position #21. The Phantom Menace took in $1.027 billion in total.
Amazingly, The Force Awakens has already blitzed past all other Star Wars films and is close to cracking the top ten, with $1.086 billion racked up so far. What’s most impressive about this is that it accomplished this figure within just 12 days of debut, and without having launched in China (the world’s most populous nation) as yet. No other movie has ever exceeded $1 billion in 12 days – through Jurassic World made it there in just 13.
Given that Jurassic World nestled into position #3 on the all-time box office rankings after its strong run, there is a very good chance that school holidays, the China release, and continued positive press will propel The Force Awakens above that position. It would need to bring in $1.7 billion to do so, but an epic $2.8 billion would be required to topple Avatar from the top spot – which that film achieved largely because it was such a bold pioneer into the 3D cinema experience space.
No doubt Disney executives and investors are feeling a sense of deep relief that their $4 billion investment into acquiring Lucasfilm was money well spent. Fans are also no doubt feeling the love, given that this film has shaken off the shackles of the mixed reception that the prequel trilogy attracted.
We wish the film all the best in securing its position towards the top of the all-time box office list in the weeks to come.
Luring the classic stars of the “original trilogy” back for a triumphant return in The Force Awakens was always going to be a challenge. While the Star Wars films had largely defined the careers of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford’s extensive experience as a leading man in the thirty years since Return of the Jedi and his reluctance to continue his smuggler role likely made his return a more tenuous proposition.
Episode VII would never have achieved quite the level of fan satisfaction that it has if Chewie and Han Solo were written out, so Harrison’s involvement is something that needed to be secured at any cost – and that appears to be exactly what transpired. While his performance in A New Hope reportedly netted Mr Ford something in the vicinity of $10,000, his fee for The Force Awakens is said to be in excess of $34,000,000, an could rise as high as $50,000,000 depending on the film’s box office performance; since he is taking home a 0.5% slice of the film’s profits on top of his appearance fee.
Given that the film is on track to bringing in a cool $1 billion in the 12 days since its release, this hefty investment was arguably both wise and necessary. The significance of Han Solo’s defining role in The Force Awakens cannot be understated, and his presence has helped to bridge the generational gap between the Lucasfilm era and the universe’s revitalization under Disney.
The roles occupied by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were less significant in this episode. They each netted between $1-$3 million, while the leading newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are said to have taken home only about half a million each. With their stars well and truly on the rise thanks to the success of this film, no doubt they will command a larger slice of the pie as the tale continues in the years to come.
Okay, as far as puns go, this headline is one of the worst, but it seems JJ Abrams and team have brought us one of the best. Rest assured, this article contains no spoilers about The Force Awakens, but does provide a snapshot of the reactions that the film has generated from those fortunate enough to attend the red carpet premiere.
The consensus thus far indicates that the film has hit all of the right notes, and returned cinemagoers to the magic and majesty of the earliest Star Wars films. Flipping through the morsels of information that have been shared on Twitter so far suggests a broad opinion that The Force Awakens is stronger than all three prequels, plus Return of the Jedi. If that’s the case, this will be a feast for the senses and a powerful emotional ride.
Following is a snapshot of some of the early feedback:
Not going to say much till I see it again but rest assured THE FORCE AWAKENS is the best STAR WARS since 1983…maybe 1980.