The Unprecedented Impact of Star Wars

December 13, 2017

Fans of a galaxy far, far away have waited two years for the next major installment in the Disney’s re-invigorated Star Wars series. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened in theaters Dec. 15, following the storylines of new heroes Rey and Finn, featuring the last cinematic appearance of actress Carrie Fisher.

The opening for the movie has the chance of setting or keeping pace with records according to recent numbers.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, between 2014 and 2015 – when Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered in theatres – U.S. box office totals jumped from $10.4 billion to 11.1 billion, making its biggest jump between 2012 and 2016.

That first installment was also the fastest film to reach the $1 billion mark globally, according to its parent company, Disney, reaching that feat in 12 days. For the average theater, according to CNN, $57,568 was raked in the weekend Star Wars opened.

And this trend has been the norm since 1970s Star Wars opened, making $1.4 billion on its opening weekend, adjusted for inflation, according to CNN.

Mari Randa, director of communication with Marcus Theatres Corporation said the cinematic business knows the big draw that can come from a Star Wars movie release.

“Star Wars is one of the most anticipated movies of the year,” Randa said.

Randa added winter breaks and holidays can also bring more people to the theaters, as time off spurs movie going.

Dennis Haines, manager at the newly opened Cannon Valley Cinema 10 in Dundas (near Northfield), said in his 16-year movie theater career the Star Wars releases have been very busy and exciting for the theaters.

“People are excited,” Haines said. “It’s something that kind of changed a little bit (over the years).”

Those changes, Haines said, include less midnight showings and more pre-order tickets. But the impact has continued to remain strong, Haines said.

He anticipated the 2017 movie to either be the largest grossing move in 2017, or – because of the short amount of time it will run in 2017 – to be the highest grossing of the 2017-18 period.

“I think that [moviegoers] are going to love it,” Haines said.

The Dundas theater has six of its 10 screens open for viewing, Haines said, and the theater is hoping to provide a range of show times to maximize viewer ability.

Audiences are provided with extra Star Wars viewing options and prizes for attending opening day events. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in costume, provided they don’t wear masks or bring weapons (light sabers are OK) to the theater, Marcus Theatres’ Randa said.

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