They’re out there. They’re everywhere.
But do the scores of Jedi-wannabes and followers of The Force outnumber the teenage girls and everyone else who saw Titanic twice and three times each?
Although there’s talk that the new Star Wars film may be more popular than an epic about a doomed ocean liner, sometimes it takes less pomp than circumstance to become the all-time box office leader. Sure, the fanatics have camped out for weeks and waited for years. But those who paid to see Titanic came back week after week.
The question is: If the opening weekend is as big as analysts predict, who will be left to see Episode II in week two?
Back in 1997, movies weren’t so focused on the opening weekend. For example, Titanic’s paltry $26 million wouldn’t hold water against the $114 million take of this month’s Spider-Man in the same time span. Titanic eventually grossed $600 million domestically although it only accomplished that feat after eight straight weeks atop the weekend box office, not to mention word of mouth.
Spider-Man took in a third of Titanic’s total gross in a mere eight days. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to consider
Episode II can do the same – if not more.
Fans were in a frenzy when Attack of The Clones was released in domestic theaters early this morning, no doubt to sold-out audiences.
And as you read this, a few of the night crawlers are back at the theater awaiting another chance to see Yoda swing that light saber. Or see Natalie Portman kick butt in a fight of her own – especially if she loses some strategically placed clothing in the process.
So you can bet Anakin Skywalker’s opening weekend total will certainly surpass the spectacular numbers Peter Parker pulled in.
But what about next weekend? Or the week after?
Scooby Doo will soon be released, as well as the third Austin Powers film, Men In Black II and don’t forget about Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.
The competition isn’t spread out – all will share the marquee within the next two months. In other words, Star Wars will have its day – maybe even a week – but come next Friday, it will just be another movie at the multiplex.
The other factor determining whether a Star Wars movie can once again be the all-time grossing film is the love angle.
Granted, there’s more chemistry in this episode between Hayden Christensen and Portman than R2D2 and C-3PO ever had, but will it be enough to attract the female demographic?
Obsessed fans who have been waiting 25 years for this day are one thing, but moviegoers of the estrogen persuasion are another. And attracting them will really bring the bucks, er – balance to The Force. If there is an audience who will see it only after word of mouth, it will be females.
Which begs the eternal question: Does Star Wars really appeal to everybody? If it doesn’t reach Titanic numbers, we’ll know the answer.
William Albritton is the Oracle movies email@example.com