Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Sunday - Box Office Guru - May 9, 1999

1. "I don't believe it. I am one of the biggest Star Wars fans ever. I have seen each movie of the trilogy 70 times, no BS. I can recite the lines off of the top of my head for the whole trilogy. Imagine my disappointment about the new movie when die-hard fans (who paid $500 for a seat) like myself posted reviews saying its "OK". "OK" will not be enough to break Titanic's record."

- "Dduka"

2. "I think the Phantom Menace will explode in the initial weekend, probably surpassing 100 million easy. I do not, however, think that it will remain high for months and months with repeated business. It will be around for weeks to come, but I think it will fall short of Titanic. My prediction will be that it grosses 450 million domestic and maybe, only maybe, hit the 1 billion mark worldwide. We'll see...."

- Jason Gemar (Minot, ND)

3. "Will it redefine special effects in the movies? Yes. Will it make George Lucas even richer than we ever could imagine? Of course. Will it be a grand epic that changes movie-making forever like the original Star Wars did? Possibly. Will it dethrone JP2: The Lost World from its title of largest opening weekend gross? Undoubtedly. Will it overcome the odds and conquer Titanic's box office grosses? I wish. I'm a die-hard Star Wars fan that would like to think it will, but there's one thing that prevents me from believing that it will: the competition. While it doesn't look all that impressive compared to other movies I've seen, it will surely take away from The Phantom Menace. I'm still hoping that Star Wars can prove me wrong, but I doubt it will. As for the opening weekend, look for around $125 million over the first five days. Probably $80 million of that will be on the actual weekend (Fri - Sun). Total domestic gross? I'd say around $500 million or so. I'd be shocked if it made less than the original Star Wars ($460 million). Anyway, while it probably won't shatter Titanic's record, it'll still be an awesome movie that everyone will enjoy. May the Force be with you!"

- Neil Muzumdar (Vancouver, Canada)

4. "While predicting boxoffice grosses can be as difficult as predicting the viability of Internet stocks, the future of Episode 1 can be measured by the response of critics and moviegoers alike. Even with mildly strong competition from films like Tarzan, Notting Hill, and Eyes Wide Shut, Episode 1 has the potential to garner up to $600 million domestically. It is important to note that despite the relatively weak competition during the holiday 1997 film season, Titanic was the best-reviewed film of that year. For every star earned by Episode 1 (by a national polling of critics), the film should earn $150 million. If the film is as well-received as Titanic, expect Titanic-like returns. If not, then expect a "Lost World"-like boxoffice pattern with a boffo opening of $100 + million and substantial fall-offs week-after-week."

- Brian Kriebel (New York, New York)

5. "Opening Weekend: Friday-Sunday: $110 million Wendsday-Thursday: $45 million. Although it will break records opening weekend, its hard to tell if it will last. What if the movie sucks? In any case, it will make at least $350 million in the U.S. It also helps that there are not a lot of other big budget action movies on the summer movie agenda."

- Jon Bryce

6. "Well, I've just saw The Matrix yesterday and Wow! what a damn good movie it is. It's a perfect start for the years summer movies. About TPM ,I think this movie will pass Titanic and easily become the highest grossing movie of the century.There's a challenge? Nope! Because of many reason, first ,after TPM release ,there will be only three movies that can affect TPM gross.They are Wild Wild West, Runaway Bride and Eyes Wide Shut.Of course there were many other potential movies like Big Daddy, Austin Powers, Tarzan or Deep Blue Sea but these movies doesn't have the favourable circumstance to attracting people.About the three potential movies,Wild Wild West maybe can be one of the years hit but from the trailer I've seen yesterday (in front of The Matrix) it was a horrible movie. For Runaway Bride, I've heard many negative reviews about them while Eyes Wide Shut will open on late summer, so TPM can take the advantage from the frailty that these movies had. But it all depends on the movie itself, The Phantom Menace."

- Sinah (Malaysia)

7. "I've been reading the Titanic's fan messages about how SW1 will do at the Box Office this Memorial Day. To think that it won't shatter Jurrasic Park's record is to be truly oblivious. At its minimun, the SW fan base blankets the fan base of Jurassic Park. Everyone who went to see JP on opening weekend will be waiting in line for SW1, there is your secure 90 million dollar opening. Then there are the the others who will come out just for this movie, and this group will include the Sci-Fi reluctant female movie going segment. Some people think that the limited opening will hinder the amount of money the movie can haul in, but if we remember Godzilla last year (which opening on nearly 6000 screens and had a 50+ million dollar weekend), theatres were far from packed on opening weekend (in fact I saw Godzilla on opening night in stadium seating and 12 other people were there.) Expect SW1 to sell out nearly all showings through Sunday. According to my math, the MOST SW1 can make if it sells out all shows in all theatres is approx. 500+ million dollars. I will look for it to have about 220-250 million in the bank by Sunday night. Will it pass the 600 million gross of Titanic? If it's good, this movie will play through Christmas perhaps breaking Titanic's record. Let's not forget the kids who will pour their parents money on this movie for matinee shows throughout the Summer."

- Robert Bates

8. "The scale is set very high with the previous science fiction releases. The trailer of Phantom Menace plays very well,but you can see the computer effects,the story who seems to be "thin" and the acting of electronic characters who look like out of a Walt Disney movie. Well,I don't know if the movie is supposed to be funny or "real" science fiction,but seeing the trailer it tries to please "the whole family". Probably the result of this will be a very fast drop after the second week,because curiousity is gone and people will want to know for what they spent the money. Maybe I am wrong (I hope) ,but the biggest fires have the smallest smoke screens, remember Godzilla!"

- "thebigman"

9. "By all means "Phantom Menace" will break Titanic's record. What makes the B.O. for action movies is repeat business, they expect a minority to see the movie over and over again. Though there won't be as many screaming girls for this movie as there was for "Titanic", there is a large minority of fervent Star Wars/Star Trek/X-Files fans out there that will continue to go see this movie after they go to see it opening weekend. My prediction for final domestic B.O. total for "Phantom Menace", $675-700 million."

- Austin Grisham (Lawrence, New Jersey)

10. "Will it crack Titanic's record? In its favor: Huge awareness; Everyone wants to see it; Shorter running time; Previews and trailers look awesome. Against: Lack of major stars; New big films every weekend will erode it's staying power; Expectations so high that disappointment is inevitable. Making predictions without seeing the film is always risky. The reality is that Episode One will lack the crucial 10-20th week grosses of Titanic due to the summer glut I also think it will lack the crucial female repeat audience that so helped Titanic. However I do believe it will be HUGE. The film is awesome - $550 million. The film is good - $425 million. The film is OK - $375mm. The film is a disappointment - $275mm. The film sucks - $200mm. I think there is a huge audience for this film that is resistant to bad word of mouth. The pain of the weak movie will be lack of repeat business."

- Robert Holloway (Marin, California)

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 (200 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.

1999 Box Office Guru