Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Friday - Box Office Guru - May 14, 1999

1. "This movie might break the opening weekend record of The Lost World, but no way is it coming even close to the record set by Titanic. Titanic's domestic gross of $600 million is such a huge figure, I don't think any movie will even come close to it in the next two decades. Keep in mind that before Titanic, the highest domestic gross of any movie in its initial run was ET's $362 million (it made $399 million after its re-release) Regarding Titanic's worldwide gross of 1.8 billion... Star Wars Episode One might break it, if its grosses are combined with the grosses from episodes two and three, because it's just not popular enough outside the US."

- Oren Hirsch

2. "Lots of people seem to think that TPM will open at 100 millions $ and plus but let's not forget that it won't play in as many theaters as The Lost World. The real factor of its success will be if TPM generates good word of mouth and also if the potential competition is good (Wild Wild West, anyone?). I mean if the blockbuster-wannabees suck, people may go back to see Star Wars. But will it breaks Titanic 600M$ record? Only time will tell."

- Karine St-Onge (Montreal, Quebec)

3. "THE PHANTOM MENACE, I think the box office absolutely will be great. But if you said it will break the TITANIC record is no way. Who is going to watch the movie 5 to 6 times or after 15 weeks. Not people of all ages will go to see the TPM (The Phantom Menace) like TITANIC did. As you know not only got one box office movie in this summer, not like TITANIC which opened in December which less great movie to screen at the same period as TPM do. For example like Austin Power 2, Eyes Wide Shut, Wild Wild West and more, the people absolutely will spend their money in this few movies rather that just watch Star Wars repeatedly. The TITANIC records I think is hardly to find a movie that can break it record nowaday. Maybe in the future 5 or 10 years. I personally not very like TITANIC. It is a good movie but it earns too much. I estimate TPM will open at 105 million and end with around 500 million. For worldwide I think will be about 650 million, this make it about 1150 million worldwide and domestic."

- Derrick Tan (Malaysia)

4. "In short, if Phantom Menace is anything less than perfection (equal to the other three Star Wars films), it hasn't an iceberg's chance in hell of beating Titanic for total domestic tally. period. The hardcore fans won't come back and it won't create enough new fans."

- Dan Khuu (Bloomington, Minnesota)

5. "The Star Wars prequel is without a doubt the most anticipated film in history, but will it beat Titanic? No. Titanic had a historic run, but look at its competition. The closest thing to real competition was Adam Sandler's The Wedding Singer. Anyway, Star Wars will be huge for at least its first six days. Its first two days, May 19 and 20, will yield $39 million. May 21-23 will gross $99 million. May 24th, Memorial Day, will gross $25 million. Its first six days will tally $163 million. Its second weekend will fall 50% to around $49 million, with its cume up to $215 million. From there, it will continue to fall, though in the 25-35% range each week. In the long run, look for $455-475 million domestic. Look for Star Wars to do around 70% more business overseas, for between $780-800 million. Total worldwide gross? $1,235-1,275 million."

- Joshua Maxwell (Hoosick Falls, New York)

6. "We were waiting HIM 22 years, and men, do you think HE gross less then 1,5billion worldwide? I don't think so. StarWars Isn't movie - IT IS MOVIE, Movie of All Time, He Is LEGEND! But this "Mummy" ,43mln, it may "downloading" TPM for some Millions. But nevertheless, 537MLN Domestic&1,357Billion WorldWiDe, I think so."

- "UnrealJack" (Barnaul, Russia)

7. "The biggest factors that went into Titanic's success at the box office were lack of major competition, universal appeal to every demographic group in America, vast critical acclaim, and a tremendous performance at the Oscars. Will The Phantom Menace have any of these factors working for it? I don't think so. Consider one other thing: the tremendous word-of-mouth for Titanic (mostly generated by critics) centered around the idea that it is "important" for people to see the film. In other words, the film had historical, cultural, artistic, and cinematic merit that made it a must see. I doubt that The Phantom Menace will receive such praise. At best, it will be considered a fun and exciting movie. I predict that it will make 120 million dollars in 7 days and finish up around 500 million dollars domestically.

- Uri Ruttenberg (Portland, Oregon)

8. "Will it break the record set by Titanic? That's the question everyone is asking. Many opinions on the subject are well thought, while others are clearly ignorant. My answer: Undoubtedly. First off, the fan base for Star Wars is HUGE. One need only look at the Toys 'R Us craze last week to gauge that. Secondly, although there are more male fans of Star Wars, many females are moderate to big fans of the series. Even those who are not fans will be curious enough to see the movie. Third, the audience for this includes those who were part of the craze for the original AND those who are new fans. The movie appeals broadly across a 5-45 year old range. Fourth, throw in those who will see the movie multiple times, and repeat business will last well into early August. Finally, even if the movie is only moderately good, it will not hurt its performance that much. Look at how Jedi, arguably the worst of the original trilogy, did in its initial run. It outgrossed Empire, possibly the best of the three. Plus, look at how the trilogy performed when they were re-released in '97. Around $300 mil. for films that had been out on video for almost 20 years! So, powered by an unbelievably strong opening weekend (and following weekend), Menace should be able to overtake Titanic's domestic record. Worldwide may be more difficult, but the series is pretty big in the UK and Japan, so who knows? Opening week will be $170 mil (Wed-Thurs: $70 mil; Fri-Sun: 100 mil). Second week will be around $130 mil (Mon-Thurs: $50 mil, Fri-Sun: $80 mil). So after only 12 days of release, it will have taken in $300 mil! It's first "real" competition doesn't show up until its 4th weekend (AP2), and by then, SW1 will be around $380 mil! It should cross the $500 mil mark by the end of June. Finally, the magic number should be reached near the end of July, after about 10 weeks, give or take a week. Final cume should be in the neighborhood of $700 mil! All this, of course, before the inevitable re-release in 2000!"

- Shawn T. Pacheco (Stanford, California)

9. "I remember a hot summer night in 1977. Standing in line to see a new movie called "Star Wars". WOW!!! And this was in a small town theater with, by today's standards, pathetic theater qualities. Face it, when "Star Wars" first came out, we movie goers weren't treated to the same experience as we are fortunate to receive now. And who is partially responsible for this upgrade in movie theaters (or at least the sound systems), well Mr. Lucas, of course. Now, will "The Phantom Menace" break all sorts of records? Will it surpass "Titanic" in overall sales? I don't think so, but then again I do not care. I am going to go see another tremendous movie from the trilogy of trilogies and savor every special effect just like we fans did in the beginning. Who could forget the first time they saw Luke shooting down an Imperial fighter on his first Millenium Falcon mission... With the advancements in 'effects' technology, even 'B' movies are containing 'good' effects, but there is more needed to make a major player in the movie market. We'll just have to wait and see how good the stories are for the earliest of the trilogies, we all know the middle stories moved the audience. And how popular will Liam Neeson be? I would imagine everyone would agree he is better known now than Mark Hamill was before "Star Wars" began. I can't say what everyone else will be doing this summer, but I for one will see "The Phantom Menace" more than once. I may not see it the first weekend, but don't worry, I will see it soon thereafter. Now bring on the popcorn...."

- Craig Blocker (Houston, Texas)

10. "I hope SW:Episode I will break every record in the record book. I don't know how much it will make because reviews and marketing do matter, just like Mr. Pandya said but I think it will make $600-$800 million domestically and $2.2 billion worldwide. I hope it will break Titanic's record because that movie sucked. So what if you guys thought it was a good tearjerker. I've seen better tearjerkers and should've been a massive success like Schindler's List. I wanted that movie to make over $150 million because it did touch the hearts of everyone who has seen the movie more than Titanic did. Anyways I am a diehard Star Wars fan and a lot of women I asked actually want to see the movie like my 9th grade Biology teacher. So we'll find out in two weeks if it'll break The Lost World's $92 million opening record and Independence Day's $17.04 million Wednesday record. I think SW: Episode I will make $128-$140 in 4 days, $208 million in 6 days. I know my projections are maybe too astronomical but that's just how I feel."

- Danial Jafri (Fort Worth, Texas)

11. "I have to say that i think the phantom menace will beat titanic by at least 100 million , not only is it the biggest movie ever, but anyone who is anyone is going to go see it just to see it, i wouldnt be surprised it it grossed over 9 million dollars, as for all those other movies coming out, people will see them but not as many as you think. STAR WARS RULES..."

- "Sickboy"

12. "I've been reading what people have been saying, and trying to apply it to my own box ofice knowledge, and it still comes down to one thing: this is going to be one huge film. Based on its appeal, and its hype, it seems evident that the Lost World's record is going down. This may also be the first summer movie in years that has the potential to last throughout the entire summer in a major way. As for its appeal- I would agree that it reaches a limited demographic as compared to Titanic, but you could argue the same with ID4, and that was huge. This cannot be compared with any sequel, either, because it comes so far after the first ones were released, and the expectations of a prequel to the most sucessful film series in history are enormous. George Lucas would not put out anything that was less than top-notch, so I think we can put those fears to rest. I will not venture a guess as to whether or not it will topple the Titanic, or guess as to just how much it will make, put this will be more than just a movie- it will be an event- and all of us will be watching."

- "MTGilchrst"

13. "Having seen the original Star Wars as a kid, and not liking it very much, I want to voice the opinion of movie fans that are NOT interested in any Star Wars movie. The media onslaught is a bit stomach turning and it is taking the spotlight off some movies that appear much more interesting, such as "The Winslow Boy", and "Three Seasons", but summer time is not about serious films. I guess one can gleefully avoid the Star Wars lines and enjoy an empty theater to see "Election"' "Austin Powers" and "Eyes Wide Shut" until the Star Madness runs out of steam."

- "BlkLmonade"

14. "Nothing is going to stop "Phantom Menace". There are a few movies that will slow it down, but it will be too late. I think it will take in $130-$150 million in the first 5 days. It could have over $400 million before "Austin Powers" is even released. A final tally of $700-$800 million sounds possible and probable. Just like "Titanic", people will go see "Phantom Menace", over and over again."

- Scott Maren

15. "I think that Phantom Menace will beat the opening weekend record set by the Lost world, and will break 100 million in its first weekend. won't beat the world wide tally set by Titanic. Menace will break the billion mark around the world, but it won't come close to the 1.8 billion earned by Titanic. Even though I have no idea how Titanic made that much. I'd say that the most it will make world wide is 1.2 billion."

- "Estanei"

16. "I hope Episode 1 breaks the record set by Titanic, because Titanic was incredibly long, boring, and corny, and doesn't deserve the praise it has been given."

- John Bradley

17. "I believe that "The Phantom Menace" will indeed be the highest grossing film of all time worldwide, but possibly not in North America. The film appeals to practically every age demographic, and almost every living person within those graphics will see the movie out of curiosity and/or anticipation. With this sort of audience worldwide, "Menace" is sure to break "Titanic"'s record. Only repeat viewings will secure a North American record, which might not happen if "Menace" does not live up to all the hype (remember "Godzilla")?"

- Chris Cockburn

18. "Star Wars should open 90-100 million the first week. look for tremendous advance sales starting may 12. some theatres will be sold out by may 13. people will be willing to see this movie at 3am as something akin to a religious experience. after the 2nd week, the quality of the movie will determine the box office. Total box office will be 500-600million"

- Mark Chatkin (New York)

19. "As much as some of us would like Phantom Menace to break Titanic's record, it's just not possible. Titanic came out right before the "Hollywood Dead Zone and Dumping Ground," otherwise known as January-early April. Titanic had no competition and that is why it did well, period. You can say it was because of F/X, demographics, broad appeal, or whatever, but none of that would matter if Titanic had been released on its originally scheduled date of July 2. It would have made $300 million or so, and that is why Phantom Menace will not break Titanic's record. Star Wars may be hyped across the boards, but it has every single major summer movie to deal with, and that is a fight Obi-Wan could never win."

- Aaron Jackson (Peoria, Arizona)

20. "Episode One will open with $88.5 million for the first weekend, and about 140 million for the first five days. The second week drop off will be extremely and it should hit close to 80 million again. I predict a final gross of 477.6 million."

- "RuffianNYC"

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.

1999 Box Office Guru