The Force Awakens Scorecard, Pt. 2

So we looked at my predictions for the plot yesterday, now let’s see how I did with the numbers:

  1. "I expect The Force Awakens to have an opening weekend gross of $215 Million. The crazy thing? This estimate is conservative." Conservative was an understatement. I was short by almost $33 Million.
  2. "I also expect The Force Awakens to beat Avatar’s domestic box office gross of $760.5 Million, and to come in closer to $800 Million." On Wednesday, The Force Awakens passed Avatar’s domestic gross, coming in at $764 Million. What once was decried as a fanboy fantasy, $1 Billion domestic now falls into the realm of plausibility. This will all depend on how long its legs are.
  3. "I don’t think that The Force Awakens will beat Avatar’s worldwide gross numbers ($2.8 Billion), but I do think it has a good shot of taking number two away from Titanic ($2.2 Billion)." I think this one will end up holding true. While The Force Awakens is redefining ‘box office juggernaut’ in North America and Europe, it isn’t finding the same success everywhere worldwide. As of right now, the worldwide gross is split 49/51 domestic/foreign. Other films that grossed over $1 Billion worldwide would see something closer to a 40/60 domestic/foreign split. The real question is China. It opens in Chinese theaters this weekend, but it looks like The Force Awakens will receive the same tepid response the Original Trilogy received when Disney released the films in China last year. If The Force Awakens flops hard in China, Titanic has a good chance of retaining the #2 position. If it only does okay in China, I think we’ll be reading headlines about The Force Awakens becoming #2 worldwide by the end of February.

As of right now, I’m 0 for 2, and have a shot of getting 1 out 3 right. The Force Awakens has been fascinating to track, and we probably aren’t even at the halfway point of its run.

The Force Awakens Scorecard, Pt. 1

It’s been a few weeks since The Force Awakens came out, and yesterday I was finally able to go see it for a second time, so I it’s time to check the scorecard!

Again: There Be Spoilers Below!

  1. The Empire and New Republic Co-Exist. The film is never really clear on what the political situation is like in the universe, and I find it to be the film's biggest flaw. I think I was right about the Resistance, but wrong about the First Order and the Empire. I’ll give myself a half point.
  2. Both sides are trying to find Luke. Nailed it. +1
  3. Kylo Ren is the apprentice. Nailed it. +1
  4. Rey is a Skywalker. Jury is still out on this one, and it'll be Episode 8 or Episode 9 before we know for sure.
  5. Starkiller Base is a planet transformed into a doomsday weapon, or is a doomsday weapon that was terraformed. Nailed it. +1
  6. Han dies. NAILED IT! +1

For a grand total of 4.5 out of 6. And the one I missed is a plot point that won’t be resolved until later films. Not bad.

As for the film itself, it’s rare that I am able to sit back and watch a film without turning on ‘film student mode’ and critiquing everyhting. It's even rarer if I can do that on a second viewing. Both times I've seen The Force Awakens, I just sat back and enjoyed the film. I think John Siracusa summed it up best on The Incomparable Podcast: “The Force Awakens is a good movie with many small problems, none of which overwhelm it's essential goodness.”

Predicting The Force Awakens

I’ve been up since 2am. I’m writing this at 4pm. This post will go live at 7pm. My screening is at 9pm.

This is what I’m expecting from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Warning: There Be Spoilers Below!! Maybe

First, business.

I expect The Force Awakens to have an opening weekend gross of $215 Million. The crazy thing? This estimate is conservative. I also expect The Force Awakens to beat Avatar’s domestic box office gross of $760.5 Million, and to come in closer to $800 Million. While it’s been fun watching The Force Awakens become a box office juggernaut in the United States, as international gross becomes more important to Hollywood, how it performs worldwide is going to be key (As of writing, Disney has revealed that The Force Awakens brought in $14.1 Million in it’s first day in foreign markets). I don’t think that The Force Awakens will beat Avatar’s worldwide gross numbers ($2.8 Billion), but I do think it has a good shot of taking number two away from Titanic ($2.2 Billion).

Finally, pleasure. Or: What I expect to happen in the film.

The Empire and New Republic Co-Exist. The truce is an uneasy one, but it’s there. I think “The Resistance” is made up of former members of the Rebel Alliance who never stopped fighting the Empire. The “First Order” is an Imperial faction attempting to take over the Empire. Their goal is to reestablish the Empire as the sole galactic power. And for the sake of drama, they've all but succeeded by the start of the film.

Both sides are trying to find Luke. I think it's the secret mission that Leia sends Poe Dameron on. Also, the line Kylo Ren utters while staring at Darth Vader's helmet —"I will finish what you've started"— is a reference to Vader hunting down the few Jedi who survived Order 66. Who's the sole living Jedi? Luke.

Kylo Ren is the apprentice. Always two there are… We haven’t seen Andy Serkis’s character yet, but we did hear him speak in the voiceover for the first trailer. I think he’s the master.

Rey is a Skywalker. Kinda a gimme.

Starkiller Base is a planet transformed into a doomsday weapon, or is a doomsday weapon that was terraformed. I base this purely on the fact that everyone has been calling the spherical object in the posters a “new Death Star”, but I think the blue around the edges looks suspiciously like an atmosphere. “That’s no moon. It’s a Space Station Moon!”

Han dies. If The Force Awakens stays true to form, a mentor figure will die during the film. If the trailers have given us any hints, it’s that Harrison Ford plays that figure in this film. I don’t think they would’ve held off revealing Luke in any of the trailers or advertising, if they were going to kill him off in this film. Plus, it was probably easier to convince Harrison Ford to return if he would only have to come back for one.

Other than these few things, I really have no idea what to expect. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. Either way, I can’t wait for 9pm.