On May 25th, 1977, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released. The film was a financial hit, breaking the box-office record Jaws had set a few years prior. George Lucas, creator of the franchise, followed the hit with five more Star Wars films: Episodes V and VI, which finished the “original trilogy,” and later, Episodes I, II and III, considered the “prequel trilogy.” The films were accompanied by a massive line of toys, video games, costumes, books, TV shows, etc.
Lucas’ company, Lucasfilm, was in charge of the Star Wars universe…that is, until Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion in October of 2012.
The sale was met a huge announcement on its own – $4 billion is no small purchase. But along with the sale, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that there would be a new trilogy made to follow Episode VI dubbed the “sequel trilogy.”
If you’re a Star Wars fan, the gravity of this doesn’t have to be explained. For you non-fans, this was essentially the equivalent of The Beatles reforming and announcing a new album. The first film to be released, Episode VII, was titled The Force Awakens.
Recently, the main theatrical trailer for The Force Awakens aired, and immediately after the reveal ended, presale tickets for opening night went on sale. Within 24 hours, hundreds of theaters sold out their midnight showings, and the film has already amassed $6.5 million in IMAX presale tickets (the old record was less than $1 million). Basically, The Force Awakens isn’t on pace to beat the current box-office records; it’s on pace to obliterate them.
But why is this film so special? Well, when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, over 15 years after the last release, it grossed over $1 billion at the box-office. The Phantom Menace currently stands at the 6th highest grossing film of all time, so it wouldn’t seem unbelievable for The Force Awakens to do similarly.
Another big thing about The Force Awakens is the force behind the movie. Disney is spearheading everything, but director J. J. Abrams was brought on board. After directing the two new Star Trek films, both commercial successes, Abrams has earned the trust of super-fans across the country. Along with Abrams, The Force Awakens brings in Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford – the stars from the original Star Wars trilogy. But this only scratches the surface of why this film is so highly anticipated.
For you non-fans, my advice is to just wait for the movie to come out and see it no matter what. Because whether the film is good or not, it’s already making history.
By Thomas Short