Food for Thought: How Much Damage Will Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Do at the Box Office?

In this new editorial, Food for Thought, we will be taking a popular story in the world of movie news and really analyze it. We'll talk in depth about the pros and cons of the story and really get our hands dirty. Now, these topics will be more than a casting choice or something we can easily write an article about otherwise; these will feature more grey topics and highly opinionated discussions. So, without further adieu, let's get started!

In this installment, we will talk about how much money Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will make at the box office.

A little while ago, I wrote an article on whether Universal could be the highest grossing studio of the year, which you can read here. In the article, I said that with all of Universal's billion dollar hits (Furious 7, Jurassic World, Minions), it had an advantage over Disney, which was relying on only a few movies. Universal has skyrocketed to becoming the highest grossing studio in a single year ever, which you can read about here. Even though my prediction seems to be right, I still maintain that Disney holds a very powerful wild card... Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Right now, we don't know how much it's going to make. Box office analysts predicted it would make $600 million worldwide in its opening weekend, which is triple what some films make in their entire theatrical run. It would also break Jurassic World's record for biggest opening weekend ever. 

While I don't think these numbers are likely, I do think The Force Awakens will be massive! Now, before I go into my thoughts and speculation of its box office, let's keep some things in mind. I am talking about this film as if it is really good. Its box office will suffer if it sucks, which I'll touch upon later, but everything I saw specific to numbers is going on the assumption that this movie is really good. 

Let's look at Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Back in 1999, the hype for this film was off the charts. There was so much buzz surrounding this film. The Phantom Menace broke records when it opened. In its opening weekend, it made $64 million. Nowadays, that's an average opening for a blockbuster, but back in 1999, it was incredible. People went in droves to see this movie. By the end, it made $1.02 billion dollars. And that's with it being a God-awful movie. It's hard to imagine how much more this movie would have made if it had actually been good. The subsequent prequels made less money that The Phantom Menace, but were all financial successes. With this in mind, now we look to The Force Awakens

The Phantom Menace made over $1 billion dollars at the box office even when it sucked. Imagine how much more it would have made if it was even half the quality of the original trilogy. Now let's think about that in terms of The Force Awakens. It will with no doubt break $1 billion. But how much more it makes is dependent on its quality. If it is really good, then the lengths it could reach is unfathomable. Think of the factors at play. The prequels were so bad that all anyone can hope for is a good Star Wars movie. You have generations of fanatic fans who will be seeing it into double digits regardless of its quality. You also have 3D and IMAX costs, which will propel its earnings. In short, The Force Awakens is destined to be a success. There's no way it can fail financially. But how much more it will make is dependent on how good it is. 

Also, December releases have not had massive opening weekends historically. The biggest December opening weekend was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which made $84 million. Between the Christmas season and the snow, not a lot of people rush out to the movies on opening weekend. The Force Awakens will obviously shatter the $84 million dollar record. My guess is that it will make anywhere between $120-150 million dollars domestically for its opening weekend. But the key thing about its December release is not its opening, but it's sustainability. Avatar opened in December and made $77 million. The drop off to the second week was a record breaking 1.8%, and the film made $75.6 in week two. It went on to make $2.8 billion dollars, and is the highest grossing film of all time. December films aren't just big in December, but in January and February as well, where there aren't a lot of big releases. The Force Awakens has a big advantage by being released in December, because there will be people seeing this movie over and over and over again into February and March.

Everyone is talking about whether it can crack $2 billion. Can it beat Avatar's record and become the highest grossing movie of all time. Like I said, it depends on the film's quality. If it sucks, then it will make a lot of money but won't come close. If it's great or even just really good, then there's potential. I honestly don't have any idea. I don't know if The Force Awakens can beat Avatar. People are excited for this movie, and fans will go in droves to see this film. But I don't know if it can sustain itself enough to make more than $2.8 billion dollars. The Force Awakens does have something that Avatar didn't, and that is hardcore fans. Avatar is an original movie, and didn't have a fanbase (other than fans of director James Cameron). The Force Awakens has generations of fans who have grown up watching these movies and are hungry for a good Star Wars movie. That is a power that will enable The Force Awakens to skyrocket at the box office, regardless of its quality.

So is The Force Awakens going to become the highest grossing movie of all time? I don't know. The Force Awakens is in a similar situation that The Phantom Menace was in. It's been a very long time since the last time we've seen a Star Wars movie. There's a lot of hype surrounding this film. There's no question whether it will be successful. The question is how much it will end up making. If The Force Awakens is really good, then I think it has the potential to break $2 billion and maybe even beat Avatar.

What do you think? Do you agree with my arguement? Do you think Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens can beat Avatar's record? How much money do you think the film will make? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Written by: Nate
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