Two very good articles from a few days ago about the Episode 7 box office results and how Disney could benefit from the so called delay. It really makes you believe that the December release is actually a brilliant move...
Today, Disney will break its previous global box office record of $3.971B set in 2010--& this party has just begun, folks. #marvel #starwars
— Exhibitor Relations (@ERCboxoffice) November 12, 2013
With “Thor: The Dark World” dominating worldwide, the studio tops the $3.79 billion mark it set in 2010
Disney is about to break its global box office-record of $3.791 billion, the studio said Tuesday.
With “Iron Man 3,” “Monsters University,” “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Thor: The Dark World” providing the biggest boosts, the studio will sometime on Tuesday push Disney past the benchmark established in 2010 to its best year ever in terms of worldwide grosses.
In July, Disney was the first studio to reach the $1 billion domestic box office milestone for the year, its eighth consecutive year. In August, in record time, Disney hit $2 billion at the international box office for the fourth year in a row, and in early November the studio broke its international box office record of $2.3 billion, also set in 2010.
Source: The Warp
Imagine what will happen in 2015 - Episode 7, Avengers 2, Ant-Man, Tomorrowland, Finding Dory (?), Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (?), Inside Out, Cinderella...
And speaking of box office...
The Forbes article about the Episode 7 box office:
We’ve all heard that Disney has finally wised up and moved J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars Episode 7 out of its presumed pre-Memorial Day 2015 slot and into December 2015. Since Disney is also bumping Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland from December 2014 to May 22, 2015, one presumes we now know when Star Wars was supposed to open. Yes, this is the first Star Wars film not to open in mid-May just before Memorial Day, but the big news is the specific date that Disney did pick, one that now puts Star Wars Episode 7 in a prime position to challenge James Cameron for the domestic box office championship.
It’s Friday December 18, 2015, or the weekend before Christmas, otherwise known as the single best release date of the year. I’ve long argued that the pre-Christmas weekend, either the 50th or 51st weekend of the year depending on the calendar, is the best weekend, bar-none, to open a film. You get your blockbuster opening weekend if the film can muster it, but you also get the kind of legs unmatched by any other period. You don’t just get legs associated with Christmas and New Year’s, but you get whatever you can muster on opening weekend followed by two weeks of weekdays that act like weekends. Since pretty much every school kid in America is off starting that Monday (December 21 in this case) if not earlier, you have basically the rest of the year to pretend like every day is Saturday.
This isn’t just about the obvious blockbuster debuts that have marked this period in the last twenty years or so in the past. They are plentiful, including Titanic, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, I Am Legend, Avatar, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. These films took their solid debuts and used the holiday period to turn strong word-of-mouth into absolutely scorching weekday business. The only thing more exciting than an opening night screening of Titanic or Fellowship of the Ring was a Monday morning before Christmas screening of Titanic or Fellowship of the Ring after the word got out. And over the long vacation period, you can be sure that large groups and large families will be checking out that new Star Wars film after they open the presents or in between trips to buy their gifts or return their gifts over the end of December.
This is also about would-be blockbusters that maybe didn’t open as high as studios had hoped. King Kong parlayed a $50m Fri-Sun debut ($66m Wed-Sun) into a $209m domestic final (4.18x weekend-to-final multiplier) off of this weekend in 2005 while Tron: Legacy turned a $44m Fri-Sun debut into a $172m domestic total, or a 3.9x multiplier. And Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows may have “underwhelmed” with its $40m debut (compared to the first film’s $62m Christmas debut), but it still used the holiday period to manage massive legs and close with $180m, or a 4.25x multiplier (bigger than the first film’s 3.3x in Christmas 2009). Outside of this prime season, most of those films would have been thrilled with 3.0x weekend-to-final multipliers, but in the holiday weeks they thrived.
Disney can hope for Star Wars Episode 7, which is opening on the same day as Avatar, to play in a similar fashion. Assuming it’s even remotely good, the film will absolutely devour the holiday season over the last 2 weeks of the year. It will likely drop just a bit from its debut weekend to Christmas weekend, and again suffer a relatively small drop over New Year’s weekend. It will peak after the new year but will likely have, on average for larger debuts, 3.5-5x its opening weekend by the end of its third frame while studios will surely keep the beginning of January clean in fear of the Empire , giving Star Wars clear sailing at the start of 2016.
Let’s say Star Wars Episode 7 debuts with $125 million, which is on the lower end of expectations but let’s remember that the record for a December debut is $83m set by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey last year. A minimum 3x multiplier gets you $375m, while even a Hobbit-y 3.6x gets you $451m. while a Tron: Legacy/King Kong-ish 4x multiplier snags you $500m. Give Star Wars a plausible $150-$175m debut weekend (if Hunger Games can do it…), and well, you do the math. Okay fine, just offhand, $150m x 4.5 = $675m domestic. Or, okay, let’s go nuts… $175m x 5 = $875m. Likely? I suppose not, but frighteningly plausible considering the history of this weekend.
Business Journal's article on how Disney will profit from the delay:
Speaking as a fan of both Disney and Lucasfilm: Getting upset about the delay is like getting mad at Santa Claus for taking his time down the chimney with your Millennium Falcon replica. You know, the one with the movable laser cannons and authentic movie sounds.
Unfortunately, there is more to this saga than the patience of the fans. Making movies is a business, and the business world does not look favorably on delays. They are an admission of a mistake. They show a lack of confidence in the process. They make investors nervous. And so on. Which is why Disney announced the delay along with an encouraging earnings report.
However, this delay will work in Disney's and Lucasfilm's favor. And not because of some mystical energy field that binds the galaxy together. Or even because of pixie dust. Here are five reasons why the delay is just good business.
• Haste makes waste: Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm set social media on fire with speculation. Several fans still believe the Disney magic will dilute The Force and change the appeal of the resulting films. But pushing back the release date shows Disney's commitment to taking its time and producing a superior product. Sticking to the original release date, especially after a production shake-up, which resulted in J.J. Abrams sharing writing duties with Star Wars royalty Lawrence Kasdan, would make Disney's lack of flexibility disturbing.
• Avoiding the crowd: A new Star Wars film will be a big deal no matter when it's released. But there is already a big line forming in the opening-day queue for summer 2015. Disney will be releasing the next Avengers movie and Brad Bird's Tomorrowland that season. And franchises like Jurassic Park, The Hunger Games and Terminator also are returning to theaters at that time. Waiting until the field has cleared will make Star Wars stand out even more. Besides, it was the release of the first Star Wars film in May 1977 that started the summer blockbuster trend. Why not start the new chapter by re-writing the book.
• Putting the hype in hyperspace: Along with more production time comes more promotion time. And not just for themed monorails on Disney property and online movie trailers. I'm talking about revenue-generating events. Events like the Star Wars Celebrations and Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios represent a plethora of opportunity for teasers, meet-and-greets and sneak peeks. If there were additional pre-release events in Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks, the fans would follow.
• Anticipation pays off: Is a rock band punctual about the time it takes the stage? Is the ribbon cutting on time at a grand opening event? No. Why? A waiting crowd is a fired-up crowd. And a fired-up crowd will be happy and willing to consume once their patience is rewarded. Promotional events aside, the fans generate their own hype. You want proof? Jar Jar Binks toys sold after the Phantom Menace was released. Now I'm definitely not implying that J.J. Abrams will give birth to Jar Jar Junior. In fact, what he and Kasdan will give us is bound to be much better. So there's no wrong in giving the fans a little more time to build their own hype by imagining what could be.
• Merry Christmas to all: Making the new Star Wars film a holiday gift to the fans is just the sentimental gesture a new parent company needs to keep the kids happy. Then there are the benefits of the resulting retail rush. Just imagine the legions of Star Wars fans — kids, parents and memorabilia collectors — finally getting the long-awaited seventh chapter of the saga. Then being offered a fresh Star Wars merchandise push in the midst of the holiday shopping season.
Christmas 2015 can't come soon enough... :)