Premier of Disney+ & “The Mandalorian” Not Correlating to Increased Interest in “Star Wars”

With the Disney+ streaming service in operation as of Nov. 12, 2019, the amount of interest for “Disney” on Google spiked considerably, showing that there is broad interest in the new service. However, even with the premiere of the much touted #StarWars Internet show #TheMandalorian on the new service, the show’s premier and the launch of the service itself has not correlated to an increase in overall interest for “Star Wars” raising the possibility again that “Star Wars” is in trouble, as we previously posted. While “Star Wars” fans are giving “The Mandalorian” overall positive reviews, the public at large doesn’t seem to be interested.

In the weeks leading up to the releases of “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens” in 2015, “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story” in 2016 and “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” in 2017, interest in “Star Wars” would always begin to increase about 4-6 weeks before the actual movie release date. Now, with the release of the ninth movie (“Star Wars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker”) just over 5 weeks away, no similar increase in overall interest for “Star Wars” is occurring according to “Google Trends”. (There was also a very small increase in interest for “#Solo: A Star Wars Story” in May, 2018, but it was very small as compared to the peaks that occurred for the previous movies.)

Google Trends for "Star Wars"

Google Trends for “Star Wars” over Past 5 Years as of Nov. 14, 2019

Now, if we include the search trends for “Disney” with “Star Wars”, you can see that historically, when interest in “Star Wars” was peaking, there were similar small increases in interest for “Disney”. However, with interest now spiking rapidly for “Disney” due to the premiere of the Disney+ streaming service on Nov. 12, 2019, there is no corresponding increase in interest for “Star Wars” even though “The Mandalorian” is getting a lot of attention on social media.

Google Trends of "Star Wars" and "Disney"

Google Trends of “Star Wars” and “Disney” for the Past 5 Years as of Nov. 14, 2019

What these trends also show is that on average, interest in Disney averages much higher than for “Star Wars” overall; but while an increase in interest for “Star Wars” appears to correlate with a small increase in interest for Disney, that correlation is not two-way. Disney may own “Star Wars”, but that ownership alone has not lead to an overall increase in interest in the brand, except during movie releases and only until shortly after the release of “The Last Jedi”. This suggests that “The Last Jedi” may have damaged overall interest in the “Star Wars” brand, which is not what Rian Johnson probably intended when, in “The Last Jedi”, he wanted to “destroy the past”.

Additional evidence that the “Star Wars” franchise may be in trouble due to lost interest is demonstrated by recently taken video showing hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes containing unsold “Star Wars” toys being put into an industrial shredder to be trashed, as shown at the end of the following video.

 

Only time will tell when interest for “The Rise of Skywalker” begins to reveal itself.

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Box Office Flop “Terminator: Dark Fate” Might Lose Over $100 Million

Things are not looking good for the #Terminator franchise as its latest film, “Terminator: #DarkFate”, opened this past weekend to a measly North American box office take of $29-million and only $94.6-million overseas, for a worldwide total of just over $123-million. With a massive $185-million budget, combined with another $80 to $100-million in global marketing and distribution fees, experts are predicting that the film could lose as much as $100-million.

Since Paramount, Skydance and Disney (through 20th Century Fox) co-financed the movie, any potential damages will be broken up among the Hollywood companies, which each put up 30% of the budget. China’s Tencent contributed the remaining 10%. Box office experts say the film needs to earn around $450-million to break even, but predict that “Terminator: Dark Fate” will end its box office run with an uninspiring $180- to $200-million globally.

Paramount and Skydance (the companies responsible for releasing “Dark Fate” domestically) hoped that it would kick off with over $40-million in North America, but after it fell short of expectations, insiders at rival studios suggest it’s unlikely “Dark Fate” will hit triple digits in the U.S. It might not even pass $70-million domestically over the course of its entire theatrical run, which is rather sad.

The film’s predecessors, 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” and 2015’s “Terminator Genisys”, were both panned by critics and failed to recoup their pricey budgets. So, in spite of the return of James Cameron as producer and original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, “Terminator: Dark Fate” failed to reignite moviegoers’ interest.

Media analyst Eric Handler with MKM Partners said,

“This is an aging franchise with aging actors, and the reviews were mediocre. As good of a franchise as this might have been, it doesn’t have the same appeal now.”

“It is time to let this franchise finally go to the great beyond.”

Adds Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations said,

“This is definitely the end of the line for the Terminator franchise in its current iteration. That said, IPs are harder to kill off than Jason Vorhees these days. So, expect a new series in five years on CBS All Access. Probably animated this time.”

The fan reaction thus far isn’t great either with the film only earning a 6.6 score on IMDb and a Metacritic score of only 54%.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Duo David Benioff & D.B. Weiss Exit New “Star Wars” Trilogy

Duo David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, who launched #GameOfThrones in 2011, have walked away from their much-publicized deal with #Disney’s #Lucasfilm to launch a new post-Skywalker #StarWars feature film trilogy that was to begin in 2022.

That planned 2022 release date made the Benioff/Weiss start-up the next-in-line “Star Wars” installment following this December’s #TheRiseOfSkywalker, which will be the final chapter of the Skywalker family chronicles that have been captivating moviegoers since 1977.

Citing their historic deal with Netflix, Benioff & Weiss explained that…

“their enthusiasm for Star Wars remains boundless but, regrettably, their schedule is full up.”

“We love Star Wars. When George Lucas built it, he built us too. Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything. There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects, so we are regretfully stepping away.”

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy chose to stay optimistic in her statement, leaving room for Benioff and Weiss to potentially return in the future, saying,

David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible storytellers. We hope to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on Star Wars.”

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Filming for “Fantastic Beasts 3” Expected to Begin in February, 2020

During a visit to the Boston LeakyCon convention this weekend, #FantasticBeasts actor Dan Folger revealed that filming is expected to begin in February, 2020. He is quoted as saying the following:

“We haven’t started filming yet. We start in February.”

“Last we heard, J.K. … she’s been writing furiously, everyone was really happy with what she submitted, and we’re all just waiting for the new script. And that’s where we’re at.”

Johnny Depp’s return as antagonist Gellert Grindelwald is not confirmed.

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“Maleficent 2” Bombs in North America

#Disney’s #Maleficent sequel, “Maleficent: #MistressOfEvil,” bombed during its opening weekend in North America, earning only $36 million, in spite of it topping the box office. With a $185 million budget, the sequel is a far cry from the original “Maleficent”, which earned $69 million during its opening weekend in 2014.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” also did extremely poorly in Japan, where it only earned $3.2 million. By comparison, “Maleficent” earned $67 million in Japan during its opening weekend in 2014.

Arriving over five years after the first “Maleficent”, the Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer and Elle Fanning fantasy is suffering the same grim fate as “The LEGO Movie 2”, “Pacific Rim: Uprising”and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” that were released earlier this year.

Not all news is entirely bad for “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” as its total earnings overseas were $117 million, with $22 million coming from China and $10 million from Russia. But, while its total global worldwide earrings were $155 million. it will still need to earn quite  bit in order to break even. Only time will tell whether that actually happens.

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