Phantom Menace Reader Forum

Wednesday - Box Office Guru - May 19, 1999

1. "No question the new Star Wars will gross more than Titanic did only within it's summer frame. People are so much excited about this huge movie event, and those people are already determined to see the movie repeatedly. I guess each weekend's gross of this movie will be unbelievably steady for the first month because of the huge amount of its sincere fans, and then begin to show the business that Titanic did after that period of cultural Star Wars phenomenon. Probably, the distribution company will stop its showing after school starts in September, like the case of The Lion King in 1994, and the movie will again steadily collect dollars to $130 million in its second showing to bring its total gross to roughly $800 million. However, I doubt The Phantom Menace will be another Titanic overseas. It will do super impressively out of the states, but will not be the biggest money making movie of all time in other countries. Also, I think The Phantom Menace will not become a VHS title due to the strong thought of George Lucas. He and his company will demand selling the movie only in the form that allows audience to enjoy it fully, so DVD will be it. With this powerful backup from George Lucas and next year's release of PlayStation 2, DVD will finally show the sign of completely replacing VHS as the standard format of new digital entertainment. The Saga begins on May 19."

- Ferris

2. "Let me first quote one line from the 'BoxOfficeGuru'. "Fox released Titanic in 57 overseas markets and broke the all-time box office record in each and every one of them." Now, to all the Star Wars sicko fanatics, please step out from the dark side, take off your tinted glasses, and observe the reality. Finally, ask every one you know, is The Phantom Menace capable to achieve that????????"

- Douglas Y. (New York, New York)

3. "I think The Phantom Menace will be a great movie. The problem is that people are setting their expectations too high. I saw the original Star Wars in 1977 at age 13 and it was great. I also loved its sequels, even though they did not get great reviews. This movie will be no different. The problem arises when people think a movie will affect them the same way now that it did then. If this movie were coming out and there had been no episodes IV through VI, people would take it as just another movie and probably enjoy it. I was impressed much easier at 13 than I am now. Partly due to just growing up and partly due to more exposure of special effects in movies over the years. People are less fooled by them."

- Brett Malone

4. "As they say, timing is everything. In retrospect, Titanic opened at a wonderful time of year (Christmas, 1997). The movie enjoyed immediate success and with so many young people on Christmas break, the table was set for tremendous word of mouth run. Additionally, Titanic had almost no competition for most of the first quarter of 1998. TMP will not only have to break the 5 day opening record as well as the two week opening record but will have to smash it by quite a bit to have a chance to surpass Titanic's total domestic gross. IMHO, TPM will need to break $325M through Memorial Day to have any chance of surpassing Titanic's domestic gross. With that said, I believe TPM has an excellent shot of grossing $128 to $135M in the first five days and score a total of $275 to $285M through Memorial Day. Add another $100M in June and $75M for the remainder of it's run and you will have a total between $440 and $460M. Add that to my prediction of $650M overseas and we will see a total of $1.1B. I would not be surprised to see Lucas and Fox rerun the movie again (either over a Holiday period or just before the next Star Wars release).

- Ken Sammut

5. "I think most of you don't get it, do you? Star Wars sold 178,119,595 tickets nationwide. 47,259,147 tickets more than Titanic. Do your math! It would be $817M if not for inflation! Even without the re-release, it would still have 148,006,912 tickets. More than 18,000,000 tickets more! It would have $680M. Now even if half of the people who saw the original went to see this one, it would gross $410M. Add to this potential non-fans who go for the curiosity - if it gets at least $200M, Titanic's record would sink! Instead of giving lame reasons people, use facts. Titanic will sink! Oh and my source was Exhibitor Relations, Co. In other words, these are facts from people who tally box office scores. P.S. If you want to see historical, see something important like Schindler's List. Masterpiece."

- "RMMoya"

6. "I would never have guessed there are so many clueless morons out there that are so absolutely certain that TPM will gross more money than Titanic. I see a big opportunity for ME to gross a lot of money by betting all these suckers that TPM will not beat Titanic and then collecting my cash at the end of the year. Titanic topped the box office for fifteen weeks straight. It had hardly any serious competition the whole time. Teenage girls were seeing it ten times over. People like my parents and relatives who never go to the theater went and saw Titanic. Titanic taking $600 million stateside and $1.8 billion in total was a freak event that nobody could have predicted and I don't expect will be repeated anytime soon. I hardly know a single female that even knows when TPM is opening, let alone being overly excited to see it. Nearly every other week it will face stiff big league competition from the likes of Wild Wild West, Austin Powers, Eyes Wide Shut, Notting Hill etc.

On Sunday May 16th, I went to one of the biggest most popular theaters in the Toronto area to buy my TPM tickets, expecting to hear that it was already sold out for the first two weeks, and was able to easily get tickets to the 12:30 am show on Tuesday night (early May 19th morning). This means on Wednesday morning I'll be able to tell everyone that I've already seen TPM, practically ahead of opening day, without having to stand a minute in line... that too in Toronto. I suspect it would be even easier to get tickets in most other Canadian cities and smaller US cities. So do I think there's a chance TPM will outgross Titanic. Hell No. My guess for TPM records would be a first weekend gross of 100 million or so, and for days to reach 200 million and perhaps 300 million. That's it. Domestic take: perhaps 350 mill, and total world wide maybe 800 million or so. I'll be surprised if it beats Jurassic Park, but that I'm sure could happen. As for Titanic, no way, so bring on the bets...hehehe!!! Let us practical realists at least make some easy money."

- Vinay Menon (Toronto, Canada)

7. "The original SW grossed 330M without taking inflation into account. Convert it into today's value and it would easily top Titanic's puny 600M. Also not forgetting the re-release which took in another 130M, the total gross of Episode 4 in today's value would be more than a billion dollars. That amount alone is enough to sink Titanic two times. Contrary to popular beliefs, TPM will appeal to more people than Titanic. Titanic's hardcore fans are mostly young women who each went to watch it 5-10 times. That, TPM can counter easily with its own hardcore fans of young men who would probably watch it 10-15 times. Titanic's fans may be women who made up 60% of America's population, but TPM's fans would be the WHOLE of America; from the teenagers who first watch it in 1977 (who are now in their middle ages and would bring along their wives and kids to watch TPM), to the teenagers of today (including girls who would spent al least 1-2 times on TPM). Everything said, TPM would gross 1 BILLION in the States alone, and that record should stay intact for as long as until the next "movie-revolution", possibly when Lucas decides to release Episode 7,8 and 9 in full VR format!"

- Alex Wong (Malaysia)

8. "I don't really have a concrete prediction, but I do have two main theories about this whole Star Wars B.O. prediction that I think are very accurate. First, most of the people who believe that Star Wars will overtake Titanic as all time #1 seem to have their judgment clouded my rash emotionalism. They seem to exhibit delayed backlash from Titanic besting Episode 4 by $200 Million, and they see the release of Episode 1 as some sort of revenge. People seem angry that an epic romance stole the thunder from Han Solo and Yoda. But when you look at the cold hard facts, Titanic faces little threat. And speaking of 'cold hard facts', here's my second theory: I also believe that the only truly logical way to approach this debate is through the perspective of International Box Office. After all, that's what the movie studios REALLY care about. In these last few years, domestic B.O. is only a small part of the equation. That's why films like Last Action Hero, Waterworld, & Speed II are able to turn profits. These days, films are either 'Green lit' or 'Put into Turnaround' based on their International appeal, not their Domestic Appeal. Internationally, the Star Wars series is really no big deal. Of the top 100 films Worldwide, only 28 have made less internationally than at home. And ALL 3 Star Wars films are part of that 28. Whereas Titanic made 66% of it's gross on international markets. So going by history, even if Phantom Meance made $900 M in the US, it STILL wouldn't beat Titanic in the Worldwide category. And by the look of things, it's gonna be a fight just to crack $400 M... The point is, don't let emotions get in the way of math. We live in a world where garbage like 'Flinstones' and 'Congo' strike it big, while great films like 'Out of Sight' crash and burn. Even if Phantom Menace is a perfect film (which early reviews make highly doubtful) the demographics and statistical analysis easily show that it has no chance of passing 1.8 Billion worldwide. If I have to commit to a raw figure, I'd say $400 Mil domestic, $800 Mil total."

- Greg Veeser (New York, New York)

9. "Everywhere I look all I see is: TPM will beat Titanic or TPM will not go over Titanic, personally who cares, uehmmm George Lucas maybe but he's got good reasons for it.... MONEY!!! I like StarWars too, but the only thing that I think is important is that I and all of you enjoy the movie. and about all the StarWars merchandice does anyone know where I can buy Starwars tooth paste, toilet paper, soap and sweets hehehe."

- Chris Prins (The Netherlands)

10. " In reading this forum, one question has to be asked: when the hell did we get so crass? Why are we, the fans, so worried about what this film makes or doesn't make in terms of money? Why do we care? Personally, I only started reading this page as an appendix to my job working in a movie theater. It's an interesting nugget of information to know what a movie makes each weekend, but ultimately does it matter in any sense other than to look at the grosses of really bad movies to say, "How did that movie make that kind of money?!" Yeah, I know that saying this is hypocritical with a capital 'H' considering what website I'm reading. But seriously, folks, leave the bottom line to the suits at 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm. Is the opening (or any) gross going to seriously affect your personal enjoyment (or hatred) of this movie? Just take the two hours, sit back, relax, and try to enjoy what Mr. Lucas has worked so hard to bring you. On a more positive note, at the two screenings (which weren't sold out. In fact we haven't sold out any shows yet.) my theater had at 12:01 and 12:15 this morning I heard nothing but glowing reviews of the movie. This just goes to prove that critics aren't real people and their opinion matters not one damn bit to most people, who believe it or not, can make up their own minds. I was able to catch a few minutes of the movie (the podrace scene) myself, and all I can say is.....WOW. I'm highly impressed. That scene alone is almost worth the price of the $6.25 ticket. This is a great movie and should be enjoyed for the escapist fare it is, not as some box office titan, not for those looking for a Kubrick film with deep meaning, but for the popcorm movie that it is (and unashamedly so). Enjoy, and may the Force be with you."

- Michael Townes (Greenville, South Carolina)

11. "It seems that the general movie going public is involved in some pointless debate (thanks to the media) about whether TPM will break Titanic's record. But in the end will it really matter? No it will not. People will see the film and formulate there own opinion about it, and TPM will make money. So who cares about whether it is a masterpiece or whether it will break all box-office records? Just go see it and enjoy."

- "G Law"

12. "Last year, since Titanic's sell, Star Wars fanatics are patiently waiting for the new movie to come out in theatres. Fanatics from 20 years ago, to new fanatics like myself are anxious to see what this movie will be like. We all trust George's decisions on casting and has proven that he does a great job at casting. I believe that The Phantom Menace will slide Titanic out of the number one spot and TPM will take its place. Thousands of us are waiting for this day to come and many of us will see that TPM is a great hit and outsell Titanic."

- "Spidermonkey100"

13. "The Titanic figure of $600 Million is no match for The Phantom Menace. Check the Gallup poll ( and do the math. The question isn't if it will go over $600 Million but how soon and by how much."

- Jonathan Hurlbut (Phoenix, Arizona)

14. "I believe the TPM will beet titanic because every one is going to expect it will so many people will see. Because even if the movie is worse witch it wont be because titanic sucked we expect it to be so lots of people will see it. Besides many people will just see it any way because its part of a classic series. Well at least once. But many Die hard fans will make freequent stops at there local theater to see it as many times as they cna. In away I think we asking to much of Lucas and in a way no. I mean we want this to be the best movie ever. We whant to be totally dasled. But thtas not realy fair to him. Hes problem shed blood trying to make this film perfect. But i dont want to him to use up all of his talet. Say he uses all his magic to make this film come alive. Abd then we expect episodes 2 and 3 to be even better but he doesnt have it left in him. Amd i n a way i think he will sadisfie every viewer because he was the one to bring us the origanle trilogy and he had 20 years to pounder up some thing and i think he can do it."

- "nickelboy"

15. "I believe TPM is ready to break every boxoffice record overseas, simply because all the great buzz going around latin america, and the great expectations of every single youth looking forward to see this movie, like I have never seen before, you can feel the force at every party, at every school conversation,just speculating about the script, the actors etc. So I have no doubt TPM is ready to defeat titanic, I just hope it also becomes the #1 movie in america as well."

- Carlos Michel (Guadalajara, Mexico)

16. "I believe that TPM will outclass all movies to date and break all box-office records. It is going to bring Lucas millions of dollars and once again make him the guru of science fiction movies."

- Umsilla Moodley

17. "Episode 1 has already brought in, pre-release, more money than Titanic ever will. As far as Box office records, I'd bet everything i have that Episode 1 will reclaim the title for the Star Wars family."

- "e. fredericks"

18. "Will Star Wars beat Titanic and become the number one movie of all time? That seems to be the question everyone in the country is asking. As a huge Star Wars fan, I REALLY hope it does. Let's look at the reasons it could: 1. Star Wars fans are INCREDIBLY devoted. Even a casual Star Wars fan will probably see it at least twice. The big fans will probably see it at least 5 or 6 times. 2. There are Star Wars fans of all ages. Kids and adults in the '70's and '80's that fell in love with it will see it, as will kids and teenagers who became fans by watching it on video or seeing the Special Editions in the theaters. 3. With the incredible amount of media hype around this movie, it is making even more people want to watch it. Girls in my class that were making fun of it are now interested in seeing it because a) they want to see what their boyfriends are so obsessed with and b) they are interested in the Queen (Natalie Portman). 4. Kids! All of the early reviews say that it is mainly for kids. If kids love a movie, they HAVE to go again! This mean they will bring their parents with them, and friends. Many will probably have large birthday parties going to this film. That equals a lot of tickets. Now let's look at the cons: 1. Kids! If the movie is mainly for kids, adults may not want to see it too many times. 2. Some semi-fans are getting so sick of the media hype that they don't want to see another clip of it or they will kill someone. 3. Titanic appealed to men AND WOMEN of all ages. Most women don't want to see Star Wars. 4. The bad reviews. Although critics usually don't like Star Wars films, people could go in with a negative attitude about the movie. If they do, they most likely won't like it too much and won't see it again. 5. Jar Jar! Need I say more?"

- "Impulse000"

19. "Ok check it out you Star Wars freaks. I've been reading some of the comments posted the last few days and I keep coming across this hostility towards Titanic because it's the #1 movie of all-time...well guess what...get use to it! What you people are really hostile over is the fact that you have no life so you can't relate to a movie based on a real life tragedy. Titanic did so well because there are more people out there that can relate to being in love and loss than "trekkie" losers...ya dig? Don't get me wrong...I like Star Wars...LIKE...but to you people basing your lives around this all I have to say is get out of your houses...turn off the computer...a pet doesn't count as a mate. And to those of you that missed out on opening day tickets....THX sound...giant screen...right here baby!"

- Jason Miller

20. "I personally believe that TITANIC wasn't all that for people to see it for 6, 9, 12 times, but I also couldn't find any faults about that movie and James Cameron timed it perfectly when there weren't enough "BIG SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS". Star Wars:Phantom Menace, on the other hand, is being released when a whole bunch of other big movies are getting ready to be released. It'll shatter the record set by THE LOST WORLD, but if the movie isn't that great, it'll sink fast (look how BATMAN movies do, they always set the opening weekend record, but decay quickly). I've heard that the movie is being released in 2100, 2400, 2700 theaters, and accounting for the fact that the tickets are a little bit more expensive now that when the record was set (especially the theaters it'll play in are "good, expensive" theaters), it'll have an opening weekend of around $120 million(45 for wed, thurs, and 75 for fri, sat, sun). After is all up to the movie itself, if it's really good like the ones before, then it'll not die down too quickly, but decline at least by 25% as it is a science-fiction pic (they decay quicker than others), and see a second weekend of around $50 so around 190~200 after two weeks. By two weeks, everyone who's die hard should've seen the movie at least once, and people who wait for the word-of-mouth will decide whether or not it's worth the wait to see it. But since this is not the only movie in the market, it'll decline by two factors (word-of-mouth, and other movies). Lucas made it that theaters keep playing this for at least 8/12(?) weeks, so that might help a little, but i don't see this passing TITANIC's $600 mil domestically. I predict it'll be somewhere around $450 mil if it's good, and if it's bad, then it'll be around $350."

- Joe (Los Angeles, California)

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1999 Box Office Guru