Friday, January 29, 2016

'The Force Awakens': Box Office Is Slowing Down

Box Office Mojo's weekend forecast reports that the box office revenue of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is slowing down. When it comes to the North American box office, the US plus Canada, Force Awakens is playing in 2556 North American theatres, 809 less than last weekend. Box Office Mojo predicts the film will earn $9.86 million in North America this weekend, a drop of over 30% even though the winter storm greatly impacted last weekend's ticket sales.

The latest Box Office Mojo all-time worldwide box office chart shows Force Awakens still holding at #3 with $1.9497 billion, still $237.1 million behind the all-time #2, Titanic, and its total of $2.1868 billion. $237.1 million seems to me like a long way to go when the domestic weekend box office is expected to plummet to under $10 million.

I would imagine that almost all of the real die-hard Star Wars fans in the world have now seen Force Awakens at least once. I'm no expert -- my previous posts on the box-office earnings of this movie have made that much abundantly clear -- but it seems to me that the chances of Force Awakens overtaking Titanic for all-time worldwide #2, let alone surpassing all-time #1 Avatar and its total of $2.788 billion, have very much to do with how many of those die-hard fans are going to buy tickets to see the movie in theatres again. There may be very knowledgeable wizards somewhere with actual reliable estimates about how many such repeat tickets can be expected to be sold from this point on, but so far I have not found nor even heard about such wizards.

There's also the possibility that suddenly, for some reason, vast numbers of people who were not interested in the movie up until suddenly will become interested -- like The Rocky Horror Picture Show on a larger financial scale -- but I would guess that such a sudden widening of a movie's appeal must be like a show-biz version of winning the lottery, not realistically to be expected, and very hard indeed to predict.

My predictions: Will Force Awakens pass $2 billion in worldwide box office? Yes? Will it overtake Titanic for #2? Yes -- but perhaps not until a re-release. Will it catch Avatar? No. Well, maybe. But definitely not before a re-release.

And as I've said before on the blog, I cannot emphasize how strongly how silly it is to focus on these numbers which the movie industry for some reason (tradition? I don't know why) makes public, without access to the huge amounts of revenue which movies earn without the exact figures ever being made public, from cable and broadcast TV and home video and merchandising, the last of which is especially huge in the case of the Star Wars franchise.

PS: I've seen Avengers: Age of Ultron now, and I liked it but didn't love it. I had a bit of a meh-there's-not-so-much-here-that-the-earlier-Avengers-and-Iron-Man-and-Hulk-and-Captain-America-and-Thor-movies-didn't-have feeling -- and I haven't even seen every single one of those earlier ones.

PPS: Susan Sontag REALLY sucks! Publishing an oh-if-only-there-were-a-rebirth-of-passionate-cinema piece of nauseating pretension three years AFTER 'Pulp Fiction' was released?! Get out of my office!

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