Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Tuesday - Box Office Guru - May 4, 1999

1. "I don't understand all these people I've just read. Star Wars is bigger than anything and everything when it comes to movies. The last time I remember such excitement for a movie was Return of the Jedi. The lines were still ridiculous 3 weeks after the movie's initial release. I think this movie will make quite a bit more than Lost World and will smash any kind of records ever held. Its second week will not fall too far from its first weekend tally, tickets will be hard to come by, only fueling the hype for weeks to come. People all over the world are just as nuts for Star Wars as we are, it's a part of everyone, I personally cannot wait to feel 5 years old again, and I'm sure I wont be alone in seeing it more than once, as I've seen the other 3 a bunch of times including the special editions while in theatres. Overall Star Wars is something we cant analyze because it's bigger than anything we've ever seen the likes of, just wait until summer, I dont think there's anything else even worth seeing this summer except for the second Austin Powers. Wild, Wild West looks like the dumbest movie ever. Star Wars is the greatest and now will prove it 3 more times."

- J.P. Cott (Greensboro, North Carolina)

2. "Believe the hype. All these people are saying that The Phanton Menace doesn't have the demographic appeal, worldwide interest, etc... that Titanic sparked inside people. That doesn't matter. Most pre-teen girls saw Titanic at least 10 times each. I can guarantee that ALL males, ages 12-50, will see the movie at least 3 times each. Also, females love the movie too. Not as much, but each person in America WILL see this movie at least once. Like The Lost World, no matter how much TPM sucks, people will go see it, just not to be left out at "water-cooler" conversations. I predict the biggest box-office success of all time for this movie, with 670 million, and 130 million for opening weekend. People are laughing at Wild Wild West trailers. Even Will Smith can't save that. THIS IS THE ONLY MOVIE TO SEE THIS SUMMER!"

- Gautam Rangineni

3. "I for one believe that, no matter what, SW is gonna break opening weekend records. It will, I believe, gross about $100-105M. Though, it dosen't get released on as many screens as Godzilla from last year, it has THE biggest hyping of the Millennium, which I believe, accounts for much. It's also a movie "spoken" for for quite a few years, and most people wanna see it ASAP, which of course, I understand. I for one, couldn't EVER dream of camping in front of my local cinema, a whole month before the film opens. You're REALLY addicted when you do this kind of thing, hell, it's 2 hours, what happens if one catches it few days later? Nothing, IMO! It's still the same movie, but those who stand in line have (also) been addicted fans for quite a few years. I'm not one of these, though from reading Countdown to Star Wars website, I have become more "hyped" about the new Star Wars film that I were before. Before, I just knew that there were these 3 movies in the trilogy, and that there were to come more. But now, after reading all these articles, and heard/seen many various SW fans confessions, I've been caught in the hype, as a matter of speak."

- Jonas Skov Madsen (Fredericia, Denmark)

4. "I don't think there's any doubt as to the records TPM can and will set. Even the Vegas oddsmakers are giving it 20-1 odds in favor of breaking The Lost World's opening weekend record, and with a guaranteed 12-week run in multiplexes biggest and best auditoriums, I think that when the dust settles, we will be amazed at how far past that little dinghy Titanic TPM emerges. As far as seeing it, I consider myself the luckiest person alive to be working for a movie theater, not having to worry about standing in line for hours on end or getting a good/bad seat."

- Karl Anderson (Portage, Michigan)

5. "There is no chance of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace breaking Titanic's $600 million record. It just doesn't have the broad reaching appeal that the doomed ship had. Titanic basically appealed to every single type of moviegoer, while Star Wars doesn't quite have the same attraction to every type of audience, in other words, there is not something for everyone in Star Wars. Over here in Australia the hype is building to amazing levels. Australia was the first country to sell advance tickets and I already have mine for the 5th of June, two days after it opens. I think that the film will make at least $120 million on opening weekend, but will end up with about $470 million total. Good enough for second place all time, but not enough to beat Titanic."

- Heath Chamerski (Melbourne, Australia)

6. "If it is as good as everyone wants it to be, I think a final domestic tally of between $500 M and $650 M is in order. Will it beat The Lost World's opening weekend record? Maybe. The only thing blocking TPM's path is it is playing in over 500 locations LESS than TLW. I think it will break past the $200 M, $300 M, and $400 M marks faster than any other film in history. There's little doubt it will speed past Star Wars at $461 million. Will it smash Titanic? Domestically that is possible, but I think the $1.8 billion international record will be untouchable. That is what you can say is an AMAZING figure (and it is only blindly obvious all that money DID NOT come from 90% teenage girls' wallets- hello!). Even so I doubt highly the film will stay in the top ten as long as Titanic did, which was an incredible 26 weeks, and it will not be the #1 film in America for fifteen weeks in a row."

- Zach Klinefelter (Mount Vernon, Washington)

7. "The Phantom Menace will demonstrate just how strong and viable a commodity the Star Wars series is. With the huge improvements in technology and f/x, I think a large number of viewers will be drawn to the theatres just to see the effects. There has been at least as much hype over these as there was for Matrix. The Star Wars Trilogy showed in the past, even with the anniversary release, that the diehard fans will go again and again. The repeat factor is stronger than most predict, I think. For each lost viewer (i.e., it's been said that the film will not have the long-lasting appeal to women) there is another viewer who will go 8, 10, 50 times. These near-cult status films draw enormously higher repeat numbers than romantic epics like Titanic.

Couple all of this with George Lucas' unbound hands and freedom to do as he wishes and make the movie he (and the fans) want, this film will have staying power. I do not think it will beat Titanic's figures. It will probably wallop Titanic's first several weekend grosses, but it is not the type of film to snowball and grow an audience. After a certain point, one has to wait for the next generation of fans. Lucas (or a similar setup) should be brought on to bring other great Sci-Fi/Fantasy Classics to the screen-Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (done properly), the recent Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series is ripe for this kind of project."

- Paul R. Marchesano (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

8. "Phantom Menace definitly has potential to topple Titanic. Science fiction fanatics waiting to see the film probably also want it to be number 1 of all time. I think you could expect these people (and there WILL be a lot of them) to go see it fifty or sixty times. There are probably networks of them communicating through the Internet planning to see it repeatedly - and not just the opening week, but weekend after weekend. It was this type of repeat business which made Titantic a monster. Expect science fiction fans (who will probably go to further extremes than Titanic fans) to do the same."

- Hector LeBlanc (Canada)

9. "Well, this is my opinion on the argument. I hate to say this, but I do not believe that Phantom can take Titanic. I hate to say this because I love the Star Wars franchise and I'm not a fan of Titanic(Either Good Will Hunting or LA Confidential should have won Best Picture). My reasoning is this. Even though there are a lot of Star Wars freaks out there, it does not contain the cross-gender and emotional appeal that Titanic contained. I expect Phantom to end up at about $500 million."

- Jeffrey Smith

10. "Star Wars: TPM has been hyped up so much over the last year that the only way it can go is down! I mean everyone's expecting it to be this perfect movie. Even if it's a great movie there's no way it's going to be perfect. I think most people are going to be upset because like "The Lost World:Jurassic Park" people are expecting way too much from a movie that follows one of the biggest movies of all time. How can people say that this is the best movie of all time when they haven't even seen it yet? Wait a month and then tell me what you think of it."

- Paul Gangnes (Vancouver, Canada)

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

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1999 Box Office Guru