Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Thursday - Box Office Guru - May 13, 1999

1. "I was given the opportunity to see Star Wars in a downtown Philadelphia theater on May 11. The film lived up to my expectations and as long as viewers, and true Star Wars fans, look at it as one of six parts of a saga and enjoy the film and pick up on the early introductions of our favorite characters (r2d2, c-3po), they will find it just as entertaining."

- Jared (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

2. "The Pharaonic 43.3$ Mummy opening can damage a little the TPM début at the box office. Anyway, this is only the last event in a long list of reasons, which justify a not-so-huge first figure and final gross for the galactic prequel. Let´s have a look on some of them: 1.The enormous success of Star Wars was based partly on its amazing visual effects (a complete shock 20 years before), but now there are lots of movies with astonishing images ( The Matrix is a good example). 2. The hard Summer competition will erode fast the grosses ( more than a 30% depreciation will be a sure fact a couple of weeks after being released) 3. After having seen the two trailers, I deduced the storyline is not very original ( robotic troops from the dark side threaten a good and quiet nation which must be saved by two brave men fighting with lighty swords....) so people may feel as if they´d already seen the film, so they won´t buy their tickets twice or three times as with Titanic ( that was what let Titanic achieve the $600M milestone). 4. The reduced number of theaters will difficult a +80$ opening ( The Lost World opened with a tally 90$ in +3000 theaters). 5. The bad reviews I´ve read about it won´t help its long term race towards the 600$ milestone at all. 6.The lack of A-list stars in the cast is not obviously a positive fact. My projection: Opening May 19-24 110$; 21-24 90$; Domestic Final Gross 400-450$; Worldwide Gross 1000-1200$."

- Alfonso de la Puente Vaquero (Spain)

3. "My name is AJ and am actually quite worried about the movie. Everyone who has seen it has been giving it crappy reviews. On Howard Stern this morning someone called in and said it was like a futuristic Roger Rabbit. Maybe George has gone overboard with the ILM people, and should of maybe made Jar-Jar and the rest of the gungans human, and not CG effects. Maybe we are expecting this movie to be the greatest event of all time, and afterall it is just a movie, right? I know I will like it, but I think George is focusing on children for this movie, so they can grow up with this series just as we 20 somethings grew up with the trilogy. Either way I am going to remain optimistic until I see it. After all they are called critics because they are there to criticize. I do think it will beat titanic, I mean it has to, the only reason people went to see titanic was because they wanted to see how the people actually suffered in the tragedy, they didn't go to see the story. I think maybe George might have went overboard with the special effects but the story is tremendous. (I read the novel), it is actually the best story of all the movies, so enjoy."

- AJ Petrolati (Horsham, Pennsylvania)

4. "Oh please!!! TPM will totally crush, annihilate, destroy, etc. Titanic! To all the Titanic lovers out there, GET A LIFE! The stupid ship sank, the stupid guy died, and the stupid girl grew up into a stupid old lady who stupidly threw the stupid necklace into the ocean! Look, no offense, but personally I say that any individual out there who would pay $5 and up (more, if it is an addicted fan) to see a ship sink is plain nuts. Just go home, build a tin foil boat, stick two Lego figures in it, place the boat inside the toilet, and FLUSH. There. The same story line, and you didn't have to pay a thing. But Mr. Lucas devoted much of his time and attention to the making of TPM, and he deserves a reward for it. So to all the negative reviews, just compare the two movies. One: a sinking of a ship that takes 3hrs to watch, when a simple flush of the toilet can accomplish all. That against a movie that has been in the works for 4 years, can continue its legacy through sequels and books, and has an excellent storyline and wonderful special effects. Now which one sounds cooler? Duh. "

- "Billy Bob Hampster"

5. ""Well to be honest, I don't care about the money this movie makes or if the records are shattered or not, if you make a movie thinking of this (hopefully Mr. Lucas didn't) you will fail because you would miss what made the first trilogy special, the fact that it transported everyone to a different place, made you understand and get involved with the characters and their struggle for a common goal, and I don't believe Lucas would allow his "baby" and life achievement to go down in history as just a money making scheme I don't think he would want to be remembered that way, (does anyone know of anything else he's done besides StarWars???) I don't consider myself as a die-hard fan, but I'm a 26 year-old female and can tell you this: it appeals to everyone, it's not a sappy love story, and it did have a love relationship between Leia and Han, but it also searches a bit deeper into what we would want in a future society, no stupid discrimination just a fight for the truly important things that a society should have: freedom and justice."

- Eleanora Campos (Mexico)

6. "Personally I do not care a whit, what the box office take comes to. I am hoping for a good movie, a solid story line and believable characters. I do wish that Lucas Films had waited until 20 May 99, to release their toys, T-shirts and trinkets. Somehow, the anticipation would have nearly been unbearable."

- Jill Peters (Towson, Maryland)

7. "I don't think that there is any doubt that "The Phantom Menace" will open huge and go on to be one of the biggest hits of all time. The question is how big? An opening weekend gross of over $100 million is not improbable. There is so much hype surrounding this film. Some say that films never perform as well as expected. That may be true, but we are dealing with what is quite possibly the most anticipated film ever to be released. I myself am not making any plans to see this film - I could care less about the actual movie. It's just the thrill of seeing how much money the movie makes. For those who are expecting this film to pass "Titanic" as the all-time box office king, don't count on it. There is too much summer competition from movies like "Wild Wild West", "Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me", "Eyes Wide Shut", and "Big Daddy", among others. Due to this, I don't think that "Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace" will have the lasting power to knock out "Titanic". Let's just pray it does."

- Steven Buckingham

8. "First of all, I personally think that the name The Phantom Menace will not actually be the subtitle for the new movie. I know it sounds zany, but if history will repeat itself, the same thing will happen to this movie as it did to Return of the Jedi. Lucas purposely named the movie Revenge of the Jedi and again there was a huge marketing campaign and all this merchandising stuff that was going on will that subtitle name printed on it (Shirts, toys, everything!). However, when people went to see the movie for the very first time, they suddenly saw the subtitle Return of the Jedi, not Revenge. In this respect, I think the name will be changed back to Balance of the Force. The other possibility of this happening is that during the trailor, Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu) > states clearly "You think this boy will bring back Balance to the > Force." It is a just a notion, a feeling, a strong hunch that it could happen. As for box office predictions, I think the "Phantom Menace" will make around $155 million dollars opening and duel its way up to around $565 million to $575 million range, this is being optimistic afterall as I am one of the biggest star wars fans. What I am afraid of in the movie is that some of the effects may look too obviously computerized such that they look fake. I am sure Lucas will fix it up, but there is only so much CGI can do on cheap standard chemical prints. Once episodes 2 and 3 will be made on digital film, the compositing of the effects will look exactly with the film itself such that there can be no telling at all if it is an effect or not. Lucas at his best of course!!!"

- Raju (Houston, Texas)

9. "Reading the comments everyone is making everyone is saying things like the fact that Titanic was Number 1 for 15 weeks, but everyone seems to be forgetting how much it made each week, $20-30 million and thats all. If Star Wars opens with a modest opening of $110 over the weekend (and I do mean modest, I predict something more like $150 million) then hey, that's worth 5 of titanics number one weeks. The thing that will make or break the movie frankly is if it is any good. As of this moment the movie can not possibly meet the current expectations. People will be disappointed. If the movie sucks it will make 350 to 400 million. If it is moderately good then 400 to 500, and if it is actually a great movie like we all hope it is then it will be a close race for first."

- Brett Nottingham

10. "When you look strictly at the number, The Phantom Menace will not be able to beat Lost World's $92M Memorial Day haul or Titanic's $601M total. Fox is only releasing PM on 2100 screens since it wants to have the high quality sound and image. Lost World was released on 3300 screens and it sold out nationwide. Therefore, PM cannot beat it. It will take in about $65-70M at the most over the 5 day spread unless Fox increases the screen count (that is key). Its second week will be very large since a lot of people will stay away from the crowds during its opening. Its 12 day tally should be about $200M with a strong week. As for its total, it will not match Titanic's record. Titanic had a lot working for it which determined its success. An ideal release date early in the Christmas holidays, virtually no competition for close to four months, a strong Oscar buzz, the Leo-mania craze which developed shortly after its release, the repeat viewings which people made, the large audience demographic it reached, and the drawing power of its theme, special effects, ad campaign, and its principal filmmaker. PM has the effects, the filmmaker, and the hype, but it has pretty much no stars, a summer of competition, a target audience of teenagers, young adults and loyal SW fans. Look for a final of about 400M, under its original 1977s total gross (including its re-release)."

- Bill Williams

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

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. Then, check back for daily box office reports on the performance of Episode I beginning on May 20th.

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