Trailer for the 7th & Final Season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Has Dropped

Here’s the trailer for the 7th & final season of “#StarWars: #TheCloneWars” animated series, which will premiere on the Disney+ streaming service. #DisneyPlus

“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Did Finally Reach $1 Billion, But Has Fallen Behind “Rogue One” Domestically

On Jan 15, 2020, “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” did finally reach $1 billion in gross box office revenue worldwide. This occurred 26 days after the film opened in theaters, which was 9 days longer than it took “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” and 14 days longer than “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens”.

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But, on that exact same day “The Rise of Skywalker” reached $1 billion worldwide, the film’s domestic cumulative gross box office revenue also slid below the cumulative domestic gross box office earnings that “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story” had earned in 2016 after the same number of days in theaters. And, since then, “The Rise of Skywalker” has remained below “Rogue One” in terms of cumulative domestic gross box office.

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Thus, the earnings for “The Rise of Skywalker” continue to drop at a rate faster than what “Rogue One” experienced in 2016, and we suspected that the film may not earn as much as “Rogue One” after viewing last week’s box office numbers when “The Rise of Skywalker” was barely doing better than “Rogue One”.

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RIP Christopher Tolkien

#RIP: author & illustrator Christopher John Reuel Tolkien has passed away at the age 95. Born on Nov. 21, 1924, he was the third & youngest son of the author J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), as well as the editor of much of his father’s posthumously published work. He drew the original maps for his father’s #TheLordOfTheRings books, which he signed as C.J.R.T.

From a child, Christopher Tolkien had long been part of the critical audience for his father’s fiction, such as listening to his father’s tales of Bilbo Baggins, which were published as #TheHobbit. As a teenager and young adult, he offered a lot of feedback on “The Lord of the Rings” during its 15-year development. He also had the task of interpreting his father’s sometimes self-contradictory maps of Middle-earth in order to produce the versions that were used in the books. He re-drew the main map in the late 1970’s to clarify the lettering and correct some errors and omissions.

J.R.R. Tolkien had written a large amount of material connected to the Middle-earth legendarium that was not published during his lifetime. He had originally intended to publish #TheSilmarillion along with “The Lord of the Rings”, and parts of it were in a finished state when he died in 1973; but the project was incomplete.

Once referring to his son Christopher as his “chief critic and collaborator”, J.R.R. Tolkien had named Christopher his literary executor in his will. With this authority, Christopher organized the masses of his father’s unpublished writings, some of which had been written on odd scraps of paper a half-century earlier. Much of the material was handwritten. Complicating matters, his father would sometimes write a newer draft over a half-erased first draft. Also, it was not uncommon for the names of characters routinely changing between the beginning and ending of the same draft.

Christopher worked on the manuscripts and was able to produce an edition of “The Silmarillion” for publication in 1977. His assistant for part of the work was Guy Gavriel Kay, who became a noted fantasy author himself.

“The Silmarillion” was followed by “Unfinished Tales” in 1980 and “The History of Middle-earth” in 12 volumes between 1983 and 1996. Most of the original source-texts have been made public from which “The Silmarillion” was constructed.

In April 2007, Christopher Tolkien published “The Children of Húrin”, whose story his father had brought to a relatively complete stage between 1951 and 1957 before abandoning it. This was one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest stories. Its first version dated back to 1918, and several versions were published in “The Silmarillion”, “Unfinished Tales”, and “The History of Middle-earth”.

“The Children of Húrin” is a synthesis of these and other sources. “Beren and Lúthien” is an editorial work and was published as a stand-alone book in 2017. The next year, “The Fall of Gondolin” was published also as an editorial work. “The Children of Húrin”, “Beren and Lúthien”, and “The Fall of Gondolin” make up the three “Great Tales” of the Elder Days, which J.R.R. Tolkien considered to be the biggest stories of the First Age.

Christopher served as chairman of the Tolkien Estate, Ltd., which was the entity formed to handle the business side of his father’s literary legacy. He also served as a trustee of the Tolkien Charitable Trust until his retirement in 2018.

In 2001, Christopher expressed doubts over “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy that was directed by Peter Jackson. He questioned the viability of a film interpretation that retained the essence of the work, but stressed that this was just his opinion. In 2008, he commenced legal proceedings against New Line Cinema, which he claimed owed his family £80 million in unpaid royalties. In September, 2009, he and New Line reached an undisclosed settlement. He also withdrew his legal objection to “The Hobbit” films. But, in a 2012 interview with “Le Monde”, he criticised the films saying, “They gutted the book, making an action film for 15 to 25-year-olds.”

Our condolences to Christopher’s family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (1924 – 2020)

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“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Box Office Plummets over 90%, Worst Drop of the Disney Sequels

While the box office for “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” was the highest during first 3 weekends, that is no longer the case with the opening of the war drama #1917 in wide release.  The film’s 4th weekend earnings were only $15.1 million domestic, which, when compared with the film’s opening weekend, is a 91.5% drop in box office earnings. This is the biggest 4th weekend drop of all of the #Disney “Star Wars” sequel trilogy films, and the film also had the largest 3rd weekend drop of the three.

In terms of overall box office performance, “The Rise of Skywalker” has broken the long-standing tradition of the 3rd film in a trilogy outperforming the 2nd film in the trilogy. (The 3rd films in the original and prequel trilogies that were produced by George Lucas both outperformed their respective 2nd trilogy films.)

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Comparing the gross box office receipts for each of the Disney “Star Wars” sequel films, the following patterns emerge.

  • The opening weekends for each film were progressively worse, which is not consistent with how well the 3rd films performed during the original or prequel trilogies.
  • With the exception of the 2nd weekend, “The Rise of Skywalker” earned less than its sequel trilogy predecessors for each subsequent weekend.
  • “The Rise of Skywalker” has seen more than a 50% drop in gross weekend box office receipts between all subsequent weekends. “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens” did not experience a weekend-to-weekend drop in box office of more than 50% until its 4th weekend.
  • With the exception of the 2nd weekend, “The Rise of Skywalker” has experienced the largest percentage drops in box office receipts when compared with opening weekend.
  • “The Rise of Skywalker” is the first of the three films to reach a more than 90% drop in overall box office receipts when compared with opening weekend. It was also the first to experience a more than 80% drop during its 3rd weekend. In comparison, “The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” didn’t experience an 80% drop in overall box office receipts until their 4th weekends.

When looking at worldwide gross box office earnings, “The Rise of Skywalker” still hasn’t reached the $1 billion dollar mark:

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If we compare the current earnings of “The Rise of Skywalker” with those of the Disney sequel trilogy and “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story”, we’ll see that the current earnings of “The Rise of Skywalker” are almost the same for what they were for “Rogue One”, so it’s entirely possible that (from the graph below) “The Rise of Skywalker” may not earn as much as “Rogue One” or it may only earn slightly over the overall earnings of “Rogue One”. With more films being released in theaters in the coming weeks, “The Rise of Skywalker” will have more competition, which will take more earnings away from it.

"Star Wars" Earnings Graph

Earnings of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”, “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”, “Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” & “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

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Revised User Rating Demographics on IMDb for “Star Wars”

Since we first posted our analysis of user rating demographics on IMDb for all #StarWars films on Dec. 23, 2019, there has been a change in overall user ratings for “Star Wars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” that we will now share. Namely, the overall user ratings for Ep. IX have dropped and now are in sync with the previously released “Star Wars” film: “#Solo: A Star Wars Story”.

Revised User Rating Demographics on IMDb for "Star Wars"

Revised User Rating Demographics on IMDb for “Star Wars” (Updated on Jan. 2, 2020)

This downward shift for Ep. IX gives the film an overall “D+” rating and places it into the same “D”-rated films as “Star Wars I: #ThePhantomMenace”, “Star Wars II: #AttackOfTheClones” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story”.

Examining Age Demographics More Closely

We also decided to take a closer look at the overall demographics for each film regarding age groups and gender to see if any patterns emerge. The results follow.

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Sorry that this chart is a little busy, but some interesting patterns do emerge, though the user ratings per age group also need to take into consideration the age of the IMDb website, the age of the Internet, how many people had Internet access over time, and the age when the voters actually saw the films:

  • Since IMDb was launched on Oct. 17, 1990, it didn’t exist when the original trilogy was released. Hence, all of the user ratings for those films would’ve all occurred at least 7 to 13 years after the films were released; but the vast majority of those user ratings wouldn’t have started to probably accumulate for another 10 years over that. Hence, the age data won’t be based on when the films were released.
  • Only 4.1% of the world’s population was on the Internet when “Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace” was released. This grew to 14.6% when “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” was released. 46% of the world’s population had Internet access when “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” was released, and that number is now 58.8%.
  • The older the films, the more user ratings accumulate over time and the recorded age for each user rating is based on the age of the individual when the user ratings were first recorded. Some individuals may also have changed their user ratings over time and it’s not clear which age would remain: the age of the original user rating or of the most recent user rating.

So we can draw the following conclusions from these data issues:

  • The older the films are, the less likely the age data will reflect the age of the users when they rated the films.
  • The age data is less valid for older films than for newer films.

In spite of these data issues, we can still find some interesting patterns and correspondences.

  • Only those users who are at least 42 years of age were alive when “Star Wars IV: A New Hope” was released. The “45 >” age group most closely represents those who would’ve been able to see this film in theaters; but they would’ve been young children at the low end of this age range.
  • Only those users who are at least 36 years of age were alive when “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi” was released. Everyone in the “45 >” age group could’ve seen this film in theaters, as well as the upper range of the “30-44” age group. Anyone who saw this film who are currently in the “30-44” age group would’ve been very young children when this film came out; and people in the “45 >” age group would’ve been at least 9 years old.
  • Only those users who are at least 20 years of age were alive when “Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace” was released. Anyone currently in the “30-44” age group would’ve been 10 to 24 years old when this film came out. Anyone currently in the “45 >” age group would’ve been at least 25 when this film came out.
  • Only those users who are at least 14 years of age were alive when “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” was released. Anyone currently in the “30-44” age group would’ve been 16 to 30 years old when this film came out. Anyone currently in the “45 >” age group would’ve been at least 31 when this film came out.
  • Since 10 years separate “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” from “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith”, anyone who saw the latter film in theaters as children would now be in their late teens or early 20’s now. Those in their 20’s then would be in their 30’s now and those in their 30’s then would be in their 40’s now. Anyone who remembers seeing “Star Wars IV: A New Hope” in 1977 would likely be at least in their 50’s or older now.

In other words, grandparents today who saw the original trilogy in theaters could be taking their grandchildren to see the Disney sequel trilogy. Parents who saw the prequels as children could be taking their children to see the Disney trilogy. And, the people who were parents when the prequels came out would likely have been children themselves when the original trilogy came out.

So what does the age data on IMDb tell us?

  • The people who most love the the first two original trilogy films are either children today or were children when the films first came out. The people in between (who were children when the prequels came out) like these two films slightly less.
  • Males who were young children when Ep. VI came out liked the film more than other male groups: Ewoks. Ewoks don’t appear to have had the same impact with female viewers.
  • Males who were young children to early 20’s when the prequels came out enjoyed them more than other males, including those who were children when the original trilogy came out. For females, the older they get, the less they like the prequels regardless of how old they were when the films came out or weren’t yet born when they came out.
  • For Ep. VII, males who were children when the prequels came out liked the film best, as do all females who are 29 years of age or younger.
  • For Ep. VIII, both males and females who are 29 years of age or younger prefer this film over other age groups, which includes people who were young children when the prequels came out. Males who could’ve seen the original trilogy in theaters also like the film slightly more, but not as much as males 29 years of age and younger.
  • For Ep. IX, the greatest appeal is for both males and females who could’ve seen the original trilogy in theaters. In other words, nostalgia made a difference, but the younger the males, the more likely the disliked the film. Females who could’ve seen the prequels as children liked this film the least among female viewers.

Conclusion

While Disney succeeded in having their sequel trilogy appeal more to female viewers than male viewers overall, they weren’t as successful in building an audience with today’s children, which isn’t necessarily a positive long-term development when combined with the lack of overall appeal for the prequels a generation earlier. As the older generation who grew up with the original trilogy as children dies, the most appealing films continue to be the original trilogy. In other words, none of the Disney sequel trilogy films were able to touch the love that the original trilogy continues to have and has had for several generations.

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RIP Syd Mead

#RIP: visionary conceptual futurist artist Syd Mead passed away yesterday at the age of 86. He worked in the art departments for a number of #SciFi & #fantasy films, including “#StarTrek: #TheMotionPicture”, #BladeRunner, #Tron, #2010, #Aliens, #Timecop, #MissionToMars, #Elysium, #Tomorrowland, #BladeRunner2049, & more.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Syd Mead

Syd Mead (1933 – 2019)

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