Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Monday - Box Office Guru - May 17, 1999

1. "Now it is starting to look as though the hype that surrounds TPM will help it greatly within it's initial release, but that same hype will also be responsible for killing the film's overall chances. Contrary to some who feel Titanic was a lame film (I always get a kick out of it when they prefer the lame excuse it made all that money because of females- no one with an iota of knowledge about movies or box office makes a statement like that), if you were paying attention, it made all the money it did because of word of mouth, not in the least over-hyped media campaigns. People liked what they saw, and they went back for more. I saw it several times in the theater and I always saw a very mixed demographic. If anything teenage girls were the minority in attendance. It also got very great reviews, which I am sorry to say, The Phantom Menace is not. The fans have so over-hyped this effort that they forgot what they were waiting for was not the beginning of a new meaning of life, but a movie. If they had believed in the latter, Star Wars might have been a wonderful new movie. Now instead it's a disappointment. Look for huge opening numbers for the movie, but dropoffs will occur in the weeks ahead and TPM will make, if the Force is truly with it, $450 M+- not past the $600 million mark because honestly, it can't."

- Zach K. (Washington, USA)

2. "Recently I saw the New York screening for TPM. I thought the movie was absolutely amazing, and so did everyone else in the theater who wasn't a hard-core fan or movie critic. Seriously though, almost all the star wars movies have been critically bashed when they debut, but a year and a whole ton of money later, they seem to be revered by the press. TPM had something for everyone, and has a great story, especially when connected with the other Star Wars movies. I definitely feel that TPM has the appeal to break $700 mil domestically, and $2 billion worldwide."

- "Cool Alex"

3. "First of all, TPM peaked just before the very first screening last week. It's all ready over. And judging by the comments I'm reading by readers on the Boxofficeguru site, I'm upset to see that there are so many ignorant people in the world. The idea that TPM could surpass Titanic in gross is absolutlely illogical and anyone who thinks this is going to happen shouldn't be allowed to watch movies or go outside. Domestically, TPM might do between 400 and 500 million tops. But for a final world wide gross, it won't even come close to Titanic's. Why? Because of the overseas market. It's very easy to understand. Strictly concerning overseas grosses, Starwars is #9 with .3227 billion. Titanic, #1 in overseas gross has 1.214 billion. In #2 is Jurassic Park with .563 billion. It just isn't as a big a deal overseas as it is here. Even if Starwars did .8 billion overseas (quite a bit more than Jurassic Park), it would have to do around 1.1 billion domestically to surpass Titanic. Quite bloody unlikely. As for a Domestic gross, it just doesn't have the wide appeal of Titanic. And with every passing day, as more mediocre reviews come out, the amount of potential repeat business TPM needs is no doubt shrinking as people realize that seeing the movie even twice will not be necessary. James Cameron remains King of the World."

- Phil Raymond (Halifax, Nova-Scotia)

4. "Well I have read the review of TPM. And like all of the reviews of the other star wars flicks it was traditionally bad. However like the trailer suggests there will be an interuption at work on May 19th and in cinemas everywhere that can only mean one thing Invasion ! May the force be with us all!"

- Moneesh Maraj

5. "I think the biggest problem that TPM is going to have is the perceived effects on the audience being like that of Star Wars. We have to understand in 1977 the effects and filming techniques invented to make Star Wars had never been done before and the audience had never really seen a spaceship fly without the aid of string. The opening shot of Star Wars is probably one of the most dramatic in movie history. Many who saw it can probably remember going WOW. Will this happen with TPM? I donít think so. Good Special Effects are common in films of this genre. Itís the story that must prevail over the effects. Titanic had a great script, good (if not perfect) special effects, a emotive score and most importantly an excellent story. I think Lucas has the story and the special effects capabilities to pull off three films but I hope the script does the rest of the film justice. I for one am really looking forward to but I donít expect it to knock my socks off as Star Wars did. That I think will make the difference for me."

- Jason Cocking

6. "I think the new movie will whoop Titanic's so-called "record" and anything Star Trek could throw. I admit a few of the people standing in line will be disappointed, but it will be good, simply because it is George Lucas' creation. I will see it many times whether it IS as good as I think or isn't, simply because I think "Titanic" was vastly overrated, pointless, and just plain dumb. It WILL beat Titanic's records, all hands down."

- "Lovely Lelia"

7. "I don't understand the big hoopla over whether TPM will outdo TITANIC's $600M. TITANIC is not the highest grossing domestic movie ever, GONE WITH THE WIND is 1st and STAR WARS is 2nd. People never seem to add inflation to the equation. Even if TPM is worse than LEONARD: PART VI - it will still gross at least $350m and if it is as good as any of the original 3- it will maybe hit $550, even $700. Is TPM strong enough to knock off all competition the way TITANIC did. Look at INDEPENDENCE DAY, one of the most hyped movies of all times, it wasnt that great and it pulled $306. PREDICTION 12 total weeks at #1 Domestic $678. This movie will defenitly not have to international appeal of TITANIC, but should beat the domestic mark."

- William Manchester (Mobile, Alabama)

8. "Hype Hype Hype. With great hype behind it I was looking forward to seeing the Menace. Too bad the only thing Menacing was a poorly executed story with mediocre acting. Don't expect more than a sci-fi dazzle from the latest installment. Lucas' return to direction will hopefully lead the next two into other's hands. Opening gross 105 Mil, Final 325."

- Justin Travis

9. "My opinion regarding The Phantom Menace will be that it will far surpass Titanic. People from all walks of life, different age groups and both sexes will see TPM. The Titanic got most of it's count from young girls going to see it over and over again. Although there will be alot of kids that will see TPM over and over again, the count will still be high due to it being a movie for men, women, children, couples, groups of friends etc. Titanic wasn't that kind of movie!!!"

- "Jedidee"

10. "Let me start off by saying that I am one of the devoted hard core fans who waited around 20 hours to get tickets for the Tuesday midnight showing and for another showing at 8 PM on the 19th. There is no doubt that I am what you would call a HUGE Star Wars fan. I also want to preface this by saying that I don't care how many or even if any box office records are broken by TPM. I just know that I am going to get off on seeing a NEW Star Wars movie in the theatres. But I have been reading this forum since it began because I am a regular visitor of this site and I have to read anything Star Wars related (^_^). So here are my two cents on the matter. Everyone seems to be disregarding the fact that the original "Star Wars" which was also the most financially successful at the box office made $460,935,665. That is with the 1997 re-release of the film. "Return of the Jedi" made $309,125,409, and then "The Empire Strikes Back" made 290,158,751. Titanic, which I am also a big fan of by the way, made $600,787,052 with one release. Out grossing the original Star Wars by $139,851,387.

It outgrossed Star Wars by more money than 95% of movies out there could ever even hope to make in the first place. That is an amazing feat. I think a lot of people writing into this forum are forgetting just how much money $400,000,000 really is. There are only two movies in the whole history of film that have ever grossed more than 400,000,000. TWO! Titanic and the first Star Wars movie. So anyone who would lable TPM as some kind of failure if it doesn't beat Titanic's domestic take is really not dealing in reality. But I feel they are also not thinking realistically if they think that it is going to make more than Titanic. We may not see a movie beat Titanic for years and years to come. The only record that I think TPM has a good chance of beating will be the JP2 record for its opening weekend, but that one isn't in the bag either because of the substantially smaller number of theatres it is opening in. So while I will be watching along with the rest of you to see what the movie does end up making, remember not to judge the movie by it final grosses, but instead by how much it entertained you while you were in the theater, because that's what really counts."

- Ed Furcolow (Alliance, Ohio)

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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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