Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
December 23, 2015
Kim Hollis: Star Wars: The Force Awakens decimated the domestic opening weekend record, debuting with a mighty $248 million. It pulled off this feat despite contending with factors that would usually go against a big opener in December - the busiest shopping day of the year, Christmas parties, and people who will have a lot of time on their hands over the next couple of weeks. How did Disney pull off such a fantastic feat?
Ben Gruchow: So, I have this vow that I made on Facebook about a month ago that if Force Awakens does $1 billion in domestic business I'll eat my shirt...and, uh, I would really rather not eat my shirt. So if you were planning on seeing the movie at any point in the future...don't. Now is the time for quiet solitude. Nice, contemplative solitude. Says the guy who saw it on Tuesday night, but still.
The default response here is that Disney did a brilliant job with the marketing of the thing. And they did; no argument there. They created an atmosphere of "see it now, right now, before everyone else spoils it" to an insane degree: more than Jurassic World, Avengers, anything. And people bought in. Not for nothing did this movie, in a month known for lower openings and longer legs, produce a 2.0 multiplier on opening weekend. This was heavily front-loaded, fairly atypically for a December release, which creates a lot of intrigue about what happens over the next few days and weeks. The skill with which Disney kept spoilers and details under wraps, and the cultivation of an idea that there was perhaps no other movie in history with this degree of sensitivity to plot secrets, is what's primarily responsible for this blowing up as much as it has. This is irrespective of The Force Awakens as a film itself.
Jason Barney: The first and obvious answer is that in the age of huge opening weekends, with films being so front loaded, that The Force Awakens benefited from the rush to the theaters. Let’s face it, all of the largest openers of all-time are recent films, so the trend has a bit of history.
What happened here was the cultural icon that is Star Wars and the fact this was is apparently a very good film. Add to that Disney agreed to throw a film out there that relied heavily on the established continuity and characters, and it was a very powerful mix. I think The Force Awakens’ achievement is a combination of multiple factors, the last of which is the quality of the film. If this had been a subpar entry of the franchise, I think it would have lost steam during the weekend and the buzz would have been off. As it turns out a lot of people heard how good it was, and the initial rush became a stampede.
This opening is massive. It will only be a matter of time before speculation about Avatar type totals starts.