Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Monday - Box Office Guru - May 3, 1999

1. "I think that TPM has huge potential. It will probably open with about 100 million in its first weekend. I don't think that TPM will beat Titanic. There is way too much competition this summer. After TPM opens, Tarzan will grab the kids, Austin Powers will take the teens, and Notting Hill will take all the women. Then, after June, TPM has to compete with The Wild Wild West, and most mature adults who will wait until later to see TPM will be drawn to Eyes Wide Shut. Overall, Titanic had little competition in its run but TPM has a HUGE summer to deal with. Look for TPM to gross 400-450 million domestic and 1200-1300 overseas."

- Julianne Moore (Los Angeles, California)

2. "I do think that the US domestic record of Titanic (600M) will be broken, but since SW is not so hot in the rest of the world it won't break the overall record of Titanic (1835M). Titanic made 2/3 of its gross internationally but SW will do 50% of its gross in the US. I think a maximum of 800M could be possible in the US but it won't make a 1000M in the rest of the world, I think a max of 800 internationally is close. What would make 1600M all together. But well SW surprised before!"

- Jan van Oosterom (The Netherlands)

3. "I have had the pleasure of reading the adaptation of Menace that Terry Brooks has so carefully and cleverly written for fans that I can't wait to watch the film on the big screen. In reading the novel, I was stunned by the simplicity of the dialogue as well as the annoyance of the Jar-Jar character. Kids 11 and under are going to eat his cartoony antics up, very much the way Roger Rabbit did back in the '80's. However, adults are going to groan at his "scene-stealing" performance. Even the other characters in the story were annoyed with him. Beat Titanic, no! It should, but it won't. The strict guidelines and 12 week run only will prevent it from happening. The cinematography of the underwater city is what I can't wait to see!! I'm lucky enough to be able to attend a midnight private screening, but if I didn't...I'd wait in line like everyone else. Enjoy!!!!!and have a great summer!!!!!!!!!!!"

- Tony Gowell (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)

4. "A number of factors must be considered when determining the potential for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The new movie definitely has the benefit of appealing to a wide spectrum of the population due to the success of its predecessors. No movie has ever been anticipated as much as this one, not even Titanic. The success of Titanic laid in the fact that many teenage girls went back to the movies several times to see it over again. Star Wars will benefit from a larger audience, so even if they only see the movie once or twice, it still has great potential. However, the last two Memorial Day weekends have seen two movies open with record breaking numbers but suffering from steep dropoffs. The Lost World's opening of $90 million, for example, accounted for more than 30 percent of the final gross. Last year's flop, Godzilla, did even worse. My prediction is that Star Wars will prove to be a balance of these opposing forces. It will probably post strong grosses through June, but will probably drop off more quickly once July brings in new potential blockbusters, such as Wild, Wild West and Eyes Wide Shut.

Here are my predictions: May 19-23: $100 million Total: $100 million May 28-31: $40 million $170 million June 4-6: $30 million $215 million June 11-13: $22 million $255 million June 18-20: $16 million $280 million June 25-27: $12 milllion $300 million July 2-4: $7 million $312 million July 9-11: $5 million $320 million July 16-18: $3 million $325 million July 23-28 $1.5 million $328 million Look for Star Wars to spend its August weekends under $1 million. It will probably conclude its run in September, when younger fans head back to school, with a cume of $330-$340 million."

- Brian N. (New York, New York)

5. "I don't think that Phantom Menace will beat Titanic. Phantom will break all the opening records, in 3, 4 or 5 day period. But there's something that we can't forget. Star Wars is basically a film for boys, no matter if they have 10, 30, or 60 years old. I know many women that didn't even watch the first Trilogy. Other factor to be concerned are movies like "Eyes Wide Shut", "Wild Wild West". When Titanic was released, his closest competitor was "Tomorrow Never Dies". After it, there were many weeekends without any big movie. Also, special effects aren't enough for commercial success like 20 years ago. The succeess or failure of the film relies on how good the story will be. What is good for Lucas is, if the story is bad, the film will be grossed over $300M when people realize it. My predictions are a $150M for the 5-day opening and a total domestic gross of $500M."

- Carlos Henrique C. Pereira (São Paulo, Brasil)

6. "This film is going to kick everything out of its path. To put it another way, any films that are released anywhere around it should fully expect to take a light-saber or a laser beam in the anus. Having said that, let's get to the numbers. 5-day opening: $100 million; Total domestic box-office: $750-800 million; Total worldwide box-office: $2-2.2 billion. To sum it up, the Titanic is about to sink again. Enough said?"

- Seven

7. "Although I am a huge fan of the Star Wars franchise and hope that it performs well at the box office, I don't think it will break any box office records for several reasons. First, the movie will not open on enough screens for it to hit the magic $100 million mark on opening weekend. Even if every showtime at every theatre across the country is sold out that weekend, I don't think it can surpass The Lost World. Also, I don't think this movie will have the staying power that Titanic did because young girls will not want to see the movie more than once. Overall, I just hope that the movie is good and am holding my breath until May 19th."

- Jason Kaiser

8. "I think "Star Wars" will be a force worth reckoning with. It's gonna sweep the May competion up. I predict a $103.5m opening for it. Therefore shattering the 2 year record held by the Lost World. It will continue to dominate throughout May and June. It will probably begin to die off in early July due to Wild Wild West and Eyes Wide Shut. I expect it to be the biggest movie of the year, although if you look back to several years back the movie which opened with the highest opening weekend wasn't the #1 movie of the year for example: 1996-Mission: Impossible 56.8m, beat out ID4's 50.2m. In 1997 Lost World's 92.7m beat out Titanic's 28.6m. In 1998 Godzilla 55.7m beat out Saving Private Ryan's 30.5m. Although that won't be the case this year. Look for Star Wars to gross around 430m."

- bigsexe116

9. "Maybe I'm a dreamer but I think that The Phantom Menace will defeat Titanic as the all time box office champ. I think that it's important to remember that Titanic never made more than $40 million a weekend and came out at Christmas with negative buzz surrounding it. The Phantom Menace has the summer box office slot, a guaranteed first five day total of at least $100 million dollars, and the largest built-in audience of any film...ever. Think about it...the film is still going to be making $60-70 million dollars after its first two weeks! Although Titanic made its money by appealing to so many demographics (girls-leo, guys-adventure, couples-romance, and older adults-history), The Phantom Menace directly appeals to: kids, their folks, teens, babyboomers, sci-fi fans, and most importantly, fans of the original Star Wars trilogy.

If the film makes less than $600 million dollars in the US, I'll be disappointed. And don't even get me started on how much it's going to make internationally. Picture it, the perfect Hollywood export. Quoting William Shatner, "it's gonna be big...REALLY big". "

- Edward Mahoney

10. "The movie will open really BIG like $140M, but I don't think it will do more than $360M to $390M."

- Olivier Tridon (France)

Previous issues : May 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Submit your thoughts on the box office potential of Star Wars : Episode I. Email your comments (250 words or less) including your name, city, and country of residence. Box Office Guru will feature new reader comments daily in the Phantom Menace Reader Forum beginning on May 1st and continuing until the May 19th release date.

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