Star Wars is facing the biggest disturbance in the Force in its forty-year history.
The recent high-profile dramas the franchise is currently facing are likely to continue causing major problems, not only within the Star Wars fandom but also across the industry.
Major studios are no longer unwilling to release around a Star Wars movie, in fact they are confidently unleashing their own big hitters with a clear belief they can hold their own.
In fact one major movie is out two days before Episode 9, with another two directly competing on the same day of release. This is unprecented.
Star Wars is no longer viewed as a movie killer to be feared.
Many fans lay the blame at the feet of Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy and Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.
Episode 8 divided fans to an extent not even Jedi powers could predict or, at this stage, possibly even repair.
Solo A Star Wars Story was the first box office disaster in the franchise’s history, not even crossing $400million worldwide. Rebel fans claim their boycott is responsible, but numerous other factors like the movie’s well-publicised dramas contributed.
Unarguable damage has been done to public perception and industry confidence. Just look at the staggering number of major releases lined up in November and December next year.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1: Wonder Woman 1984. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8: James Bond 25. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22: Terminator 6 Reboot. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27: Frozen 2. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13: Jumanji 3.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18: Masters of the Universe.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20: Star Wars Episode IX, Wicked, Death on the Nile.
All the November releases are weeks away from Episode 9 but will have had two effects. They will have already taxed the wallets of families and young people, the target audience of Star Wars, especially with much of the older fanbase still likely to be disaffected. They will also have already enjoyed huge levels of hype.
Daniel Craig’s last film as Bond, Disney’s sequel to the biggest animated movie of all time and the follow-up to the only DC movie (so far) to win over fan and critics will all be major fan, media and industry events. Meaning Star Wars 9 will not enter the field with any empty space for anticipation to build. In fact audience may be suffering from a little blockbuster fatigue.
Jumanji 2 took over a billion dollars and pleased families, kids and adults across male and female demographics. Masters of the Univrese could be a huge hit or flop (or even move in the schedules) but will target the same fan base as Star Wars.
Death on the Nile will target older, affluent audiences while Rent will be aimed at the female cinemagoers, disaffected teens, counter-culture and theatre fans (gay and otherwise).
All these groups would likely go to see Star Wars if there was no other major option but will now chip away at its box office. In previous years the films and their studios would never dream of releasing on the same day or week.
Of course Star wars 9 will not be a flop, but it may not be anywhere near the resounding, record-breaking triumph everyone would have assumed just six months ago.