There is currently a #DumpStarWars trend in the Twitterverse, and while it may be a sort of cosmic joke, those that are seriously discussing boycotting the latest entry into the #StarWars saga should recognize that the current fuss will only drive people to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Take a look at what happened with the all-female Ghostbusters this summer. People were hating on the film long before the picture was set to bow in theaters, and it didn't seem to matter whether audiences had seen the 1984 classic or not. Not only did Ghostbusters of 2016 slay at the box office, with a lifetime take of $128,350,574 (which puts it well ahead of the Ghostbusters II box office numbers), it also had a stronger opening weekend than the original Ghostbusters, which only made $13.5 million in its opening weekend. Ghostbusters 2016 made four times that amount.
Criticism of what a film could provide to a beloved franchise seems to push box office numbers to extraordinary heights, but why?
We Want To See What The Fuss Is About
Sometimes, what drives people to a much-criticized film is morbid curiosity. There are many people who don't fall in line with the crowd right away, and #RogueOne is likely part of this category. Much of the #DumpStarWars campaign seems to talk about how Star Wars and its progeny is really an allegory about Nazism and with the level of Nazi-esque rhetoric that's revolved around President-Elect Donald Trump almost since the start of his campaign, it seems no surprise that people are worked up about what Rogue One could add to the Star Wars allegory.
We Want To Escape
Bottom line: 2016 has not been the kindest year. Between the number of icons we have lost — David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and most recently John Glenn — and an incredibly heated, nasty presidential campaign, we have had enough of the ongoing negative energy that is surrounding much of our lives. Even those who may not live in the United States are eager to take a break from it all, and Rogue One might just be the answer.
Those who have followed the Star Wars franchise since the 1970s are more than aware of its allegorical implications (the soldiers for the Empire were called stormtroopers, for goodness sakes) and will likely not care about any offense that people might take from the film. While some might — and have argued that politics should stay out of movies — political commentary has long been a part of storytelling, dating back to the days of Dickens and Swift. It would be hard, if not impossible, to expect writers and filmmakers to start making movies that are pure fluff 100 percent of the time.
Rogue One is meant to return those who have loved the Star Wars franchise back into the universe they grew up with, politics aside. #DumpStarWars will only make audiences eager for escape from the ills of 2016 more interested in seeing the movie, not less.
Politics Don't Always Matter
If anything, #DumpStarWars will bring audiences in to see Rogue One because for a great number of people, no one cares about politics. The United States presidential campaign was exhausting for everyone, and whoever created the #DumpStarWars campaign is only continuing to feed into the notion that we have to make everything political.
Whether Star Wars is a political allegory or a comment on Nazism doesn't matter. After hearing so much racist and divisive talk over the last two years of this presidential campaign, people are tired of making politics an issue daily. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story should be an opportunity for audiences to escape the outside negativity and get drawn into a suspenseful action story, not to engage in further political discussion. The idea that people are getting worked up over the movie before it even hits theaters, though, will be enough to bring people in droves to see what the stink is about.
Rogue One opens in theaters December 16.
What do you think will be the overall tone of Rogue One?