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Can Star Wars Episode 7 Be The First $3 Billion Movie?

James Cameron made two of the movies that top the list of Box Office Champions — Titanic and Avatar. But can Episode VII beat them all to become the first $3 billion dollar movie?

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.5 billion dollars a lot of fans were as nervous as they were shocked. The initial reaction around the web was mixed at best, with a smattering of guardedly optimistic souls and sentiment. The major fear originated from Disney’s perceived mis-handling of the franchise based on such big budget flops as John Carter.

Lucas, long-time fan of Disney

In the following days, the fretfulness turned more into excitement as it was happily realized we, the fans, would be getting more Star Wars — NOT only a Sequel Trilogy of Episodes 7, 8, & 9, but Spinoff movies, an animated series, and even talk of a Live Action show (“Underworld” perhaps?) that never materialized. As George Lucas put it, “We have a large group of ideas and characters and books and all kinds of things,” Lucas said. “We could go on making ‘Star Wars’ for the next 100 years.”

It was soon learned that Kathleen Kennedy would be heading-up Lucasfilm Ltd. and that George would continue to consult and mentor her. This helped to alleviate some concern. Aside from that here’s a brief list of Official Announcements that turned fear and loathing into ecstatic excitement:

– The Sequel Trilogy would be based on George Lucas’ own treatments
– Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3, was hired to write
– JJ Abrams was brought in to direct
– John Williams would be scoring the trilogy

And now with April 29th’s Official Cast Announcement — including many of the original cast members — Disney has proven that they are willing and able to do everything the right way, including an extremely long and extensive search for the right people to play the new generation of heroes and villains to carry-on the epic torch! In other words, Disney has set themselves up for Box Office Domination the likes this planet has never witnessed.

Undoubtedly, the hype surrounding Episode VII is unprecedented. First of all, it’s the first new Star Wars movie in ten years. Secondly, it’s a sequel to the highly beloved Original Trilogy. And thirdly, it comes after what many would consider a disappointing Prequel Trilogy.

Spaceballs the Flamethrower

Equally as undoubted, Disney will make their $4.5 billion investment back with this one movie. How, you may ask, when the Box Office Champ is at a mere $2.78 billion will Disney make all it’s money back? Well, aside from breaking that box office record, Episode VII will be partnered with more Ties than the Death Star can hold, as in Tie-in deals with everything from mobile phone apps to the traditional fast food premiums and everything in between. OR, as the ever wise Yogurt once put it, “Moichandizing!” Personally, I can’t wait for the Episode VII flame thrower. The kids really love that one!

A few more points to consider:

– There are more people alive today than ever before
– A whole new generation of kids that have grown up with The Clone Wars are ready to embrace more Star Wars movies
– Older fans have long awaited this Sequel Trilogy
– China is a burgeoning market for US filmed entertainment
– Imax 3-D with it’s higher ticket prices helped break the record in the first place

But Wall Street analysts suggest the movie will be lucky to break the $2 billion mark, according to The Wrap:

“Wall Street analysts at this point aren’t as bullish; last summer, Credit Suisse’s Michael Senn predicted $1.2 billion in box office for “Episode VII. This week, Cowan & Co. projected $1.2 billion and FBR Capital Markets said it would take in $700 million domestically — and net $1 billion overseas.” 

Sure, I’m just a “fan,” but I think this is shaping-up to become the “perfect storm” for a box office record. In fact, even if the movie itself does not live up to the hype (and, realistically, how could anything live-up to this amount of insane hype?) people will go out in droves just to see it and be a part of the EVENT. Then the die-hard fans alone will power the movie along, I suspect, by seeing the movie in both formats — traditional 2-D and the Imax 3-D experience. In fact Episode VII is becoming the Box Office Rancor that other movies already fear as they have moved their release dates to avoid the EVENT.

Finally, I saved the best point for last — Star Wars Episode VII will be opening one week before Christmas of 2015. Not only is that the perfect time for event movie-going and family entertainment, but it also gives Disney the added firepower of crazy anticipation for all those kids, both young and old, who want a good, ol’ fashioned Star Wars Christmas! A December release helped fuel Cameron’s Avatar when it was released on December 18th, 2009. It was a specially designed 3-D movie with little to no competition and word of mouth quickly spread like wildfire, creating an event. If Star Wars is even remotely good, like word-of-mouth will draw in those who aren’t even fans to experience the movie event.
Can Episode VII top $2 billion in box office? Not only do I think it definitely can break $2 billion, and take over James Cameron’s records, but I boldly think it will! Not only that, but I believe it will become the world’s first $3 billion dollar movie and make back Disney’s $4.5 billion dollar investment in one-fell swoop!!!


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