This week, Disney CEO Bob Iger said fans are going to love the next entry in the “Star Wars” saga – “The Rise of Skywalker” opening in December.
Of course, being the CEO, he is probably contractually obligated to say that or face the ire of the Disney marketing machine.
No media outlet reported that Iger, while expressing support for the feature film, waved his hand Obi-Wan Kenobi-like or used his best “these are not the droids you are looking for” voice.
“It’s our feeling that we’ve done a good job with [the Star Wars movies we’ve helped make].” Iger explained, according to ComicBook.com. “I haven’t seen [“The Rise of Skywalker”] finished yet, but I’m confident, based off of the pieces that I’ve seen and the script that I read, that it’s going to be extremely popular.”
According to the Bovada review, one of the top-rated sportsbooks is expected to offer wagers on just how strong the box office numbers will be for the latest “Star Wars” movie.
Despite the teaser trailer that was released at a Chicago “Star Wars” event in April, the plot of “The Rise of Skywalker” is still relatively unknown. IMDB’s description says the surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter. Yep, that’s very forthcoming. Director JJ Abrams did share that the movie doesn’t pick up immediately after the last film.
“Some time has passed. This movie is an adventure the group goes on together. One of the great things about getting to work on the movie is the dynamic between all of the characters. They’re amazing together, and it’s something I’m excited for you all to see,” ComicBook.com reported.
Abrams said the creative team met with creator George Lucas before writing the script. “A lot of what we have taken, is really taken to heart, everything that’s come before. While it’s been obviously significantly challenging, it’s been a greater opportunity than a challenge. I cannot wait for you to see what this movie is.”
It’s not much of a stretch to say his last episode of the sequel trilogy will be a success – the movie has a built-in fan base that formed in 1977 when “Star Wars: A New Hope” premiered and survived the dismal prequel trilogy and Jar-Jar Binks and the backlash from “The Last Jedi.”
This film will be the last of the ongoing Skywalker/Solo story, Iger said at the conference. That decision was partially fueled by the under-performing “Solo: A Star Wars Story” released last year. And when we say underperforming, we’re talking $394 million worldwide, which in “Star Wars” history is a little light.
According to Box Office Mojo, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $936,662,225, holds the record as earning the largest domestic box office. It’s opening weekend in December 2015 was nearly $248 million.
Disney is hoping for the same if not more box office success from “The Rise of Skywalker,” which opens Dec. 20, one week after “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Cats.” Estimates say it could earn $600 million to $700 million domestically.
Of course, “Avengers: Endgame” bested “The Force Awakens” on preview nights and on opening weekend. But will it match “The Avengers” total worldwide box office which is at $2.6 billion and still growing.
One thing that will contribute to the movie’s bottom line is the return of Lando Calrissian played by Billy Dee Williams, which excites “Star Wars” fans. Also, we will get a glimpse of Carrie Fisher as Leia, despite her death in 2016.
Abrams acknowledges the pressure to have a finished product that pleases fans plus draws in new moviegoers.
“There are a lot of words that we all hope that you feel… and obviously the biggest, most important one I think is satisfied.”
But will it be satisfying enough to boost attendance and end the year enroute to being the biggest box office draw, unseating “Avengers: Endgame?”
The Fansided website has posted pros and cons in an attempt to answer that question.
On the “pro” side, the website cites the long-successful Christmas release date “Star Wars” film have locked up in the past, the Disney marketing prowess, including the opening of Star Wars Lands in Florida and California. The apparent return of Emperor Palpatine whose laugh appears at the end of the teaser raises expectations as well.
In the “con” column and why it won’t beat “Avengers: Endgame,” is alleged “Star Wars” fatigue — which is real.
That fatigue will be addressed in the future with “Star Wars: going on the backburner, though two standalone trilogies are in development. Beyond fatigue, with Disney’s purchase of Fox, which includes James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels, the release calendar is very crowded and frankly, there isn’t a place to release it. The first December date available is Christmas 2023.