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Speculation Begins on Potential Box Office for Star Wars Episode 7

JJ Abrams’ ink on the directors contract is not even dry and already there is speculation about just how big the box office for Star Wars Episode 7 will be. It’s probably fair to assume that Disney will put its considerable force behind the production and promotion of Episode 7 so as to justify the $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm (although residual toy, dvd, and merchandise sales have already gone a long way toward justification). Barring an incident so awful it would generate millions of souls crying out and renouncing their love of the Star Wars films, there’s likely to be big riches ahead for Disney and the Star Wars franchise. (Aside: that’s one of the reasons Disney is rumored to be moving with all force toward adding a Star Wars land at three of its theme parks.)

Although the Abrams helmed Star Trek revival box office was decent, it did not come close to matching the draw of James Cameron’s Avatar (another pot Disney has its fingers into). This makes you wonder if Disney picked the right director. Of course, it would be long wait until an open spot appears on Cameron’s calendar. So what was Disney to do.

I thought that Abrams would make a great choice of director for Star Wars even before the Lucasfilm sale. He’s shown both Spielberg’s touch for the mythic and Lucas’ gift for adventure. Abrams might have a bit too much action in his veins, but that is what modern audiences want these day. He will bring us real characters with real motivation, which is more than can be said for Episodes 2 and 3. He’ll certainly have all the tools he needs at his disposal. I was impressed with some of the answers he provided in his recent Empire Magazine interview too (it hits newstands today).

Speculation on is that Episode 7 will pass $2 billion in world wide box office. If you had to pick a number today, what would you guess the finally tally will be?

4 thoughts on “Speculation Begins on Potential Box Office for Star Wars Episode 7”

  1. I think you are understating the success of Abrams’ first “Star Trek” movie (obviously, we don’t yet know how the second will do). Sure, it didn’t make “Avatar” numbers, but it was the highest-grossing film in the “Star Trek” series by a pretty huge margin. It made $285 million domestically (I can’t find worldwide figures for the older films in the series, so domestic is the best available comparison — “Star Trek” has always been a largely American success anyway) while the next highest-grossing film in the series (Star Trek IV) made $109 million. Even adjusting for inflation, it remains the most successful film in the series.

    That said, it is really hard to predict how the new Star Wars film will do. The Disney marketing skill (and dollars) are certainly a new variable in the equation. The likely return of the original trilogy’s stars are also apt to give at least the first film a bit more firepower than the prequels had. Of course a lot depends on the largest unknown, which is simply how good the film will turn out to be. It is easy to get carried away with predictions as well. I remember lots of predictions that Episode 1 would blow through all box-office records. While it did spectacularly well, it still didn’t top “Titanic” or even the original “Star Wars” and a lot of that probably had to do with many people being somewhat disappointed in the film, causing repeat viewing to be a bit less than expected.

  2. I did overstate the gross for Abrams’ Star Trek film by $30 million (I accidentally misread it), but the overall point is still true, which is that the film was enormously successful within the context of the series. My point is that it makes more sense to compare it to the previous Star Trek films than to Avatar. Only the 4th film comes close, even adjusted for inflation.

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