As Star Wars begins its run on VOD, it's as good a time as any to look back on its box office run, or more specifically, how it couldn't top Avatar. Yes, despite almost everyone on the internet swearing that the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise would easily hit at least 3 Billion domestic, (mostly due to a disappointing Chinese gross), the film didn't top the 2.7 billion gross of Jame's Cameron's Fern Gully remake.Not signed in
What's the reason for this? Some have said over saturation through marketing, some have said bad word of mouth in China. Well, it's going to sound crazy, but I think the reason that TFA can't get that #1 spot at the box office, is, wait for it, brand recognition. Maybe that isn't the right way to put it. I believe the reason Avatar was able to reach such insane box office heights (and why TFA can't) is because it didn't have an established franchise that it was based on. Let me explain myself.
Though we can see from the opening weekend numbers (247m domestic), many people were willing to see the TFA because it was a Star Wars movie, but I think we have to confront the reality that many people weren't, for that same reason. Picture this, Openminded Person A goes to see Avatar, loves it, then goes to tell Person B to see it. Person B has only the recommendation of Person A to base it on, there is no established franchise, so he decides to go see it. Now, 6 years later, Person A sees TFA. Again he loves it, and tells Person B to go see it. Now Person B might have reservations. Maybe he tried to watch the movies, and just saw the prequels, maybe he (gasp) didn't like the originals, or maybe he has decided that Star Wars is terrible and for nerds despite never having seen it.Not signed in
Now, I can't stress this enough, I'm not saying this held TFA back, it's made an incredible 2 billion dollars worldwide. Instead, I'm saying it put a limit on the amount of people who would see it. It has 3 great films, (well 2 great films and 1 good one), but it also has 3 terrible prequels and a godawful animated movie.
Due to the fact that Star Wars is a franchise, with some good instalments and some bad, there was always a limited amount of people that were going to see it. Though this may only apply to 1 person in 1,000, it's still a big difference that TFA has to an orignal property like Avatar. James Cameron's sci-fi hit could make that money because it could appeal to everyone, and Star Wars, though it can appeal to many, can't really say the same.
Alright, that was a bit of ramble. If you enjoyed this article follow this blog on Twitter @boxofficebreak1 to see when we make a new post!