Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Saturday - Box Office Guru - May 15, 1999

1. "I think some of the negative reviews on Star Wars are going to hurt the movie... but hard-core Star Wars fans aren't going to be affected. It's all the friends and curious moviegoers SW is going to lose. So we may only be looking at a $50-60 million opening weekend. SW's only saving grace is the fact that almost all of that $50 mil is hard core fans who will see it at least twice if not more. But does it really matter? I bought a 24-pack of Pepsi and lo and behold, there's Anakin right on the can. They were even talking about TPM on the intercom at the grocery store. Even if the movie bombs, Lucas will be making enough money from all the other goodies out there. And keep in mind that a lot of these movie reviews are negative solely for the reason that this movie is another Star Wars film. Expectations are too high. I think when REAL people go to see this movie, the word of mouth is going to be positive."

- Michael Stevens

2. "Everybody is concerned about repeat business making TPM the highest grossing movie ever. People are saying women will not go to see it more than once, THAT'S BULL. I know lots of women that have seen "The Matrix" 2 or 3 times. Sure they may see TPM once or twice even though they saw Titanic 5 times. But look at it this way, mostly woman went to Titanic over and over. What about the millions of fanatic geeks with no life that will see this movie every weekend till it's out of the theater. You don't think they will, trust me they will. It will be the new tradition. Play "the Magic card" game in the morning, then see TPM at night. This will be the first movie to break $800 million domestic. And lets not beligure the point folks, ep 4,5,6 WERE NOT really great movies either. They were corney, just as TPM is excpected to be. The point is they were entertaining, who cares if Mark Hamill can't act and Ewoks are dumb. That didn't make the movies flop then, and it won't make them flop now."

- Rob Brown

3. "I hate to see people proclaiming the TPM will beat Titanic's record - can't they see it more plainly i.e. intelligently that TPM is a bubblegum candy coated movie? Though I admit that I am a child at heart but its not reason for me to watch it several times like I did with TITANIC. Though the special effects of TPM will make me awe if there really is something new, my standard of special effects have risen sharply after watching the MATRIX which is a damn good movie with a great story too, then I would say TPM will gobble $400-450 mil at the end of its run. But if the effects are just the same as what I have already witnessed, bec I agree that the plot of TPM is too thin, will have a $300-350 BO. There simply is no way TPM can beat TITANIC for the plain reason that it touches the heart of every living soul in this planet. Thats why, Oscars honored it lavishly with several statues as proof of its greatness and beauty. I cannot remember SW series all combined, recieved such an acclaim.Though I hate to admit it, TPM will never ever beat TITANIC."

- Ayeng (Q.C., Philippines)

4. "OK people---sure TPM will open HUGE, there is no question. But does it have legs?? Most anticipated movies open big and then have serious drop offs as the weeks follow. TPM should be no exception. I live in Peoria, IL--if you read your Entertainment Weekly, "How's it playing in Peoria?", you will find that it hasnt even "SOLD OUT" here yet. I went to get my tickets today, friday may 14th, and every single show was still open. Im not saying that it wont be sold out by next wed, but it just isnt causing that much intrest here i guess. I am going to go and see it but I am also disappointed by the previews. The only thing that gets me excited about the movie is the THEME MUSIC. It still sends chills down my spine. My predictions for this summer--TPM will act more like a PHANTOM than a MENACE to the other films out there."

- Jeff Nicolaus (Peoria, Illinois)

5. "Due to the smaller number of theaters, I initially had some doubt that TPM could break the opening weekend record. But looking at some loose calculations, as well as the massive number of people standing on lines and the expectations that opening day showings will sell out in less than an hour, I have to say TPM should be capable of blowing Lost World's record out of the water-- over the three days alone, it should make about $110-120 million (interestingly, roughly the film's budget). Add in Wednesday and Thursday grosses, and it should be close to $200 million by the 24th or 25th. It was shrewd of Lucas to open on the weekend *before* Memorial Day, because now he has *two* guarenteed massive weekends in a row; over the 4-day Memorial holiday weekend, TPM should pick up another $40-55 million. Its third weekend is, again, virtually competition-free, so expect another $30 million or so. After that, however, more "big" movies start coming out, and as much as I'd like to think Star Wars fans can give TPM Titanic-like holdovers, it just won't happen (though I think Titanic is also a fine film in its own right). What happened with Titanic was nothing short of amazing: besides repeat-viewings, it crossed over every group imaginable; guys may not have been the core audience, but they still went, and a lot of girls *won't* be all that interested in seeing Episode One. So after the weekend of June 4th, expect some moderate drop-offs; i'd guess $24 million over the weekend of the 11th (against Austin Powers), $18 million or so over the 18th (against Tarzan), $14 over the 25th, a minor Fourth of July resurgence, and a gradual wearing away after that. It'll reach 100, 200 and 300 million faster than anything, but expect it to wind up with around $450 million, possibly up to 500, but not much more; Titanic's record will stand, but TPM will still be a massive success."

- Jesse Hassenger (Saratoga Springs, New York)

6. "I stand with the crowd that believes SW will not reach the levels Titanic did domestically or in the international markets. One thing I have to disagree with is these people who say it won't be as big as Titanic since girls won't be returning for multiple viewings. What they forget is instead of girls going back for more, it will be the boys who return for the 30th time to see this film that will drive its sales. The reasons why I do not feel it will reach 'Titanic' levels is that internationally SW does not seem as popular, and the film does not have quite the wide demographic appeal that Titanic offered. As for summer movie competition, there are not even half the big event films this year as last summer. I am actually disappointed that there is nothing after SW premieres that looks all that exciting. My predictions for SW will be $450 domestic gross, and $800 internationally."

- Casey Miller (Vancouver, Washington)

7. " It doesn't matter if The Phantom Menace doesn't surpass Titanic at the boxoffice. Far as I am concerned we all know TPM is the better film. The whole Star Wars series has been more than films. They have been magical experiences. This will be no exception. Titanic wasn't a bad film but it can never compare to the force."

- Duncan S. (Australia)

8. "I am a huge Star Wars fan from the Midwest, and cannot wait until May 19th!!!!!!!! I plan on getting in line today to buy tickets!!!!!! I heard people are complaining that the movie is a disappointment. WHATEVER! It will be the BIGGEST blockbuster of the 20th Century!!!! Titanic, you're going to the bottom of the ocean pal!!!! If I may so humbly quote one of the greatest athletes ever, "Whether you like it, or don't like it, leaaaaaaaarrrnn to love it, 'cause its the greatest thing goin' today! WHHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!"

- Robert Gibbons Jr (Springfield, Missouri)

9. "I think that the movie is not going to do well with insane, hard-core fans. Also, (this might be good or bad) people who have either never been interested or only interested a little in the SW phenom. People who will love this movie will be 30 something nostalgics, and us who were totally captivated by the re-releases. I have read the book (shame on me.....) and as long as the plot is remotely like the movie (and I'm sure it is) it's gonna please the public. As long as you remember two things: one, this is not a blockbuster-explosion-heavy-no-plot movie, This is a George Lucas movie, he describes himself as an Independent film-maker, so don't expect a james cameron please-em-all. And two, this is a movie where the plot drives the effects, not the effects driving the plot. That's going to turn-off some people because it's all there is nowadays, It's a quick big change. So remember go to have fun, not to criticize."

- "Mixmasterzak"

10. "It seems to me the key to whether The Phantom Menace will break $600M and pass Titanic is the one thing nobody knows - how good is it? It better not be good - it better not be great - it better be one of the all-time most dazzling, inventive, brilliant, spectacular movies ever made. If it is, then it's got a shot. If not, it may hit $400M from the hype alone, then struggle before hitting $500M and closing its run. Anybody who thinks they know how well it'll end up now (before anyone's seen it) is just wishing."

- John Farmer (Woodland Hills, CA)

11. "Plain and simple, Phantom Menace will open with over $100 Million, but after seeing the premiere of the new Phantom Menace video "Duel Of The Fates" on MTV, I think that the opening weekend total will be pushed to the $125-$140 million range. Final domestic gross will be around $475 million, putting it ahead of Star Wars and into the number 2 spot. The ONLY reason that it won't beat Titanic is because it's coming out in the summer, and will have competition in weeks #7-end from Wild Wild West and Eyes Wide Shut, while Titanic was still managing over $20 Million a week during those time frames. In my opinion, it will make over a billion worldwide."

- "HotBoyK"

12. "Less than 200 words? How about two: Who cares? Does it really matter how much money it's going to make? It's going to be the movie experience of the decade, especially so for those of us who are true fans. Success isnt measured in dollars, it's measured by what a movie brings to its audience."

- "Tarkuss1"

13. "Forget that movie about that boat that sank. This movie has everything going for it. At least 2 out of 3 people are star wars fans, and these people will most likely see it 5 or 6 times. Although I dont think it will break the opening weekend record, definitely look for it to have staying power. It just has too many things going for it. Look for an opening of about 75 million and finally tally of around 1 billion."

- Steve Parra (Pullman, Washington)

14. "$160 million for the 5 day opening weekend is the only safe bet - giving this episode around $35 million a day. The only modern model we have is JP2, which made almost as much over 3 days - but everyone seems to be glossing over the fact that JP2 was a horrible disappointment and a bad movie to boot. Moreover, it had 3 years of fans where Star Wars can boast a generation. As eager as we all were to see the dinosaurs, it does not match the industry-wide panting for Episode I - hence $160 even allowing for limited screens. After May 24th is anyone's guess - but expect this to be a quality movie in it's own right rather than just a sequel. Star Wars is a classic epic when stripped of all those special effects which proved a milestone in '77. Adding the latest effects technology to such a storyline (remember that Lucas has held off filming until he could create another milestone) should be an asset similar to Titanic - but it will be the balance of emotional resonance and adrenaline if anything can match the $600 mark. I'm not sure that it will be groundbreaking as much as stretching CGI to it's limit, but Episode 1 should include enough visual gymnastics to generate some repeat business. Altogether, $300 million in 30 days, sure. If the story is strong enough to bleed into other demographics, we could easily see $450 million."

- Jesse (San Diego, California)

15. "My predictions: (Wknd./ Total) - May 19-23--- $110 -- $110; May 28-31--- $ 95 -- $240; June 4-6 --- $ 55 -- $320; June 11-13--- $ 30 -- $365; June 18-20--- $ 25 -- $400; June 25-27--- $ 18 -- $425; July 2-4 --- $ 15 -- $450; July 9-11 --- $ 12 -- $470. Final Gross----- $ 555."

- Jeff (Amarillo, Texas)

16. "I think TPM will make about 120M over the weekend and 150M for the 5 day opening. It will gross about 600M overall domestically and possibly 2B worldwide. Films of this nature do not usually have a lasting appeal at the box office and considering potential hits that are usually held for summer release,TPM will start eroding by July. So Titanic's record will stay intact in the states. With all due respect to Star Wars fans, enjoy your short stay at the top."

- Louie Ferraroni (Staten Island, New York)

17. "The Phantom Menace is going to be a huge success. But just how huge is questionable. It will not be another Titanic. Titanic was a phenomenon that no one expected. It had so much bad press that by the time Titanic debuted it had nowhere to go but up, and up it went. This is so different. There is too many expectations that have been created by the Fans and the Media that unless the movie delivers, Phantom, ironically can only sink. Do you remember all of the rumors about titanic; wasted money, unhappy cast mates, delayed release, director and studio clashing? Then the movie came out knocked the movie industry on its ass. That movie was out for months and it still gained at the box office. Phantom will definitely surpass 150 million in ten days but unless the movie deliver's the perfect dream we have all imagine it will not have the staying power of Titanic regardless of competion. BOTTOM LINE-400 million domestic even if it sucks. 400 million Internationally. iF IT ROCKS- 2Billion world wide."

- Gary Roberts (Escondido, California)

18. "Just to set the record straight... If you take inflation into account, Titanic is number five!! That's right, number 5! Behind Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, E.T., and The Sound of Music. There's really no mystical reason why Titanic made 600M domestically. It was a mediocre film released at a time when there simply wasn't any other movie worth seeing (from Dec. to May.) Big deal, it made 600M, that still doesn't make it the most "beloved" film of all time. As far as Episode 1 goes...relax! It's just the beginning ...and it's just a movie. It is going to have a lot more competition than Titanic did, so forget about the B.O. and try and enjoy the film. F the critics and their response to episode 1! What have they accomplished that is so great?? Nothing! It's much easier to tear apart someone else's work! There was an article titled "Give it up Lucas" on a very popular movie site. To this critic I ask: What the hell have you done in the past twenty years that even comes close to what Mr.. Lucas has accomplished?? You're really nothing more than a parasite, living off the success/failure of others!"

- "Dstann"

19. ""OK,I undestand there's an overwhelming number of loyals out there but come on do you really think that this can beat titanic what you should try to factor in when you start to crunch your numbers is the 90s are not the70s and kids are not going to be as blown away by the force today as they were twenty years ago and kids are the root to collosal boxoffice figures i predict a very giving 375million domestic."

- "Satur8"

20. "Star Wars :The Phantom Menace will totally shatter every box office record out there. you could argue that the competition is too stiff, that there is too much hype, that the story willl suck. The fact is, there is the same competition as Titanic had. Tomorrow Never dies was Titanic's main competetor, and it grossed 130 million while Titanic still grossed 600 million. Believe it or not, there is enough money out there. Austin Powers, arguably its main competetor until July will only be able to gross 1/2 to 3/4 of James Bond's gross, and Tarzan will gross the amount of 75 milion too. Look for the Phantom Menace to get maybe 900 million in the United States alone, because up until October, it should get over 2 million a week. World wide speciualtion has it grossing 3.5 billion, and and opening of 75 million. TPM is just too strong."

- "CowboyTrey"

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