Yet again, for the third weekend in a row, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has made box office history in a very big way. But before we get into that, you would think that everyone would be happy about that. People love the film; the film has re-energized the franchise and it’s getting major repeat business. But there is someone who is not happy about it, and that person is sourpuss George Lucas, who started the whole damned bloody thing in the first place.
Now you would think that he would be the happiest of all, seeing his original concept and vision making long time fans ecstatic, and creating new ones. But no. He’s all upset because Disney has “ruined” it for him. This coming after he was praised by everyone at the big grand L.A. world premiere of the film as a genius, and after which he was quoted later as saying that he loved the film.
In a TV interview with Charlie Rose on Thursday, Lucas said that he was very disappointed with “Force Awakens” and called it “retro,” adding that it offered no new ideas and was made just “for the fans”. As he said: “They looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans. I said, ‘All I want to do is tell a story’… They decided they didn’t want to use those [his] stories; they decided they were going to do their own thing. They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that any more. All I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.'”
He also added that he sold Lucasfilm Ltd to “white slavers” – meaning Disney. Although, late Friday, he apologized for making those remarks, saying that they were “very inappropriate,” and that Disney is “doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise.” Obviously some very nervous Disney people got to him and told him he wasn’t helping and to shut his mouth.
So if he so was upset about it at first (which I think are his true feelings), then why did he sell his company to Disney (for $4 billion, mind you) in the first place, instead of not doing so, and making films the way he wanted? He claims it was because of age. Lucas is 70 years old now, and he thought that it would take at least ten years to make Episodes VII, VIII and IX, when he would be too old, or wouldn’t have the stamina to make them all. So he sold the franchise, leaving it to others to make them. Now he’s complaining.
I don’t know about you, but this all sounds like sour grapes to me. More like Lucas is still mad that no one liked the “Star Wars” prequels which he wrote and directed, and which nearly destroyed the franchise. Now some “whipper-snapper” named JJ Abrams comes along and has beaten him at his own game. On top of that, he did it the old fashioned way, like the first “Star Wars” movies, shooting it on film instead of digitally, using good old practical special effects on camera whenever possible, and shooting on real locations or on studio sets, and not doing the entire thing with a few props and a green-screen, which gives any film a plastic look and feel.
Also “Force Awakens” stars two exciting young stars in John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, who have talent and charisma unlike Lucas’ so-called big discoveries for his prequel – Hayden Christensen and Jake Lloyd who were deservedly criticized for their wooden acting and lack of screen presence. And besides, when was the last time you’ve either seen or heard anything about either of them? As I’ve said before, I still believe that one of the main reasons why people were so excited for “Force Awakens” was because it was not written and directed by Lucas, which meant that it had a good chance of being good for a change.
Also, Lucas has always been on record as saying that he hates directing and is more of an idea man and not someone who knows how to relate with actors and communicate with technicians about what he wants, so why he is crying now?
And he now has even more reasons to be upset because, by Monday or Tuesday, “Force Awakens” will break yet another box office record and will become the biggest grossing film domestically, beating out “Avatar.” Early weekend box office reports say that the film grossed $88.3 million this weekend (though some figures had at $95 million) and it stands in second place, with $740,265,583 domestically, only about $20.4 million away from beating out “Avatar,” which it will do this week..
And worldwide, the film is currently ranked 7th of all time biggest box office winners worldwide, with over $1.5 billion. It will easily beat out “Furious 7” currently in 6th place and Marvels’ “The Avengers” in 5th. Could the film go on to beat the still champion of all time worldwide grossers, “Avatar,” which made $2.7 billion worldwide? Only time will tell!
With the excellent box office in its limited release last week, The Weinstein Co moved Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful 8” up a week early, setting the wider release expansion from 100 to 2,474 screens for $16.2 million, with a total so far of $29.5 million domestically, putting it in third place. Though that happens to be the lowest wide opening for a Tarantino film since 1997’s “Jackie Brown,” that’s actually not bad since the film is three hour long, which cuts down on the number of screenings per day.
Also, considering the film’s relatively modest budget for a big studio movie of $44 million (which is $40 million less than what “Django Unchained” cost to make).the film will do very well in the States. In addition it will no doubt pull in huge box office numbers when it opens overseas, starting at the end of the week and continuing through late Feb. So it’s guaranteed to be yet another box office hit for Tarantino. And since “Django” grossed over $425 million worldwide, if “Hateful 8” does even half as much, no one will be complaining.
In second place was, once again, the Will Farrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy “Daddy’s Home” which grossed some $29 million this weekend and has made nearly $93.4 million. The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy – “Sisters” – has made $61 million. Both are far and away the clear cut sleeper hits of the holiday season, performing a lot better than most expert predicted.
“The Big Short” is still doing steady business, expanding wider from its limited platform release, while both the foolhardy Point Break remake and Will Smith’s “Concussion” are the big losers this season.
Meanwhile “Creed” is in 12th place, and has now finally crossed the $100 million mark domestically. So far, the film has made over $11 million in foreign box office from mainly Pacific Rim countries such as Australia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and The Philippines. It.opens in across Europe, Russia, South America and even Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, starting next week through mid-February, once again proving to black filmmakers that there is a substantial market for their films in foreign counties, and that they must find more ways to exploit that overseas market for their films. “Straight Out of Compton” has grossed over $39 million overseas to date, which is not a figure to sneeze at; and “Creed” is very likely to do even much better than that.
1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens BV $88,300,000 Total: $740,265,583
2) Daddy’s Home Par. $29,000,000 Total: $93,684,495
3) The Hateful Eight Wein. $16,240,000 Total: $29,577,963
4) Sisters Uni. $12,580,000 Total: $61,703,640
5) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip Fox $11,800,000 Total: $67,376,640
6) Joy Fox $10,400,000 Total: $38,721,460
7) The Big Short Par. $9,000,000 Total: $32,979,117
8) Concussion Sony $8,000,000 Total: $25,370,000
9) Point Break WB $6,845,000 Total: $22,430,000
10) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 LGF $4,625,000 Total: $274,222,959
11) The Good Dinosaur BV $4,004,000 Total: 114,714,575
12) Creed WB $3,900,000 -11.9% 1,375 -143 $2,836 Total: $103,456,653