Disney's Reboot of 'Star Wars' Soars

By Robert Marich
   Dec. 20, 2015-Walt Disney Co. rebooted the dormant Star Wars theatrical franchise in spectacular fashion as Star Wars: The Force Awakening grossed a staggering $238 million in its premiere three-day opening weekend domestically.
   This setsthe stage for years of movies, merchandise and attractions tied to the most successful science-fiction franchise in history,” says a Bloomberg News
Disney's messaging that Awakens is like the original Star Wars films charmed fanboys

story by Anousha Sakoui and Christopher Palmeri.  “Some 63 percent of viewers were over the age of 25, Disney said, and 58 percent were male.”
   Those demographics indicate what is the seventh major Star Wars movie is an instant crossover blockbuster. The youth audience, as expected, came in force the premiere weekend, but so did older moviegoers, who are the “crossover” or secondary audience. Usually, the crossover appears in force a week more after premiere, not the initial weekend.
   So the Awakens is a “four quadrant” hit, since the female audience is sizeable and not overshadowed by male. That refers to movie marketing lingo that divides the audience in male/female and also under 25, and 25 and older—or four large segments or quads. Many movies just succeed with three or even two quadrants.
   Disney’s marketing campaign was excellent and unusual. Its main messaging was to assure geeks and fanboys that the reboot would be copasetic with the revered initial three Star Wars movies by presenting comforting elements from the past (like Harrison Ford as an older Hans Solo) and atmospherics. This pacified geeks and fanboys, who buzzed online they were pleased, and the mainstream press picked up on this endorsement. The campaign is unusual because the marketing messaging didn’t convey plot, which is usually necessary to be convincing. But Disney must have figured presenting a comforting generalization was sufficient.
   On importance of story, remember movies bomb all the time because audiences reject the story. Meryl Streep is an Oscar honored actress with a huge following, but her family drama Ricki and the Flash fizzled. Streep was in an unconventional role—an over-the-hill and unattractive rock star—and the story about an absentee mother rallying late in life seemed stale to audiences.
    But The Force is with the revived Star Wars as a well-reviewed movie that delivers the old charm of the sci-fi franchise.
For full text, click links below; this website’s text is searchable via searchbox on upper right of web pages: