The force is strong indeed for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it makes its debut in cinema with rave reviews, and by reaping profits from its marketing programs and sales of merchandize. This new Star Wars movie brings to mind that Disney has truly made the right investment decision to buy over Lucasfilm Ltd for US$4 billion three years ago. Experts claimed the movie could make over US$2.7 billion in profits.
The ticket pre-sales which hit over US$100 million are an early indication that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is poised for more success. If industry pundits were correct, then movie could reap in US$229 million in US and Canadian theaters in its opening weekend. This figure would top this year’s US$208.8 million record debut set by Jurassic World and the US$760.5 million domestic record of 2009 box-office hit, Avatar.
Will Star Wars: The Force Awakens beat the worldwide US$2.79 billion ticket record set by Avatar? Well, one thing is certain; Star Wars movie fever has started in Malaysia, and hundreds of die-hard fans have even camped outside a cinema here. Checks on the cinema ticket online sales also show rapid ticket sales and full house viewing.
STAR WARS Mania
Apart from the ticket sales, the sound of money seems to be ringing for Star Wars – about US$1 billion in revenue from home entertainment, TV and merchandize royalties, according to analyst forecasts. Prior to the movie debut, one could have seen the countless Star Wars-related marketing tie-ins, trailers, advertisements and events.
From Uniqlo’s T-shirts, Maxis, Subway’s combo promotion, Band-Aid adhesive bandages, Cover Girl lipsticks, Nestle coffee, Toyota, Honey Stars cereal to exclusive Royal Selangor Star Wars merchandize, the Star Wars fever is unstoppable!
Even Google has jumped into the bandwagon, enabling surfers to choose the Dark Side or Light Side skin for every Google product, from Google Maps to Gmail. In Japan, there is also a Star Wars-themed plane, the All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner: R2-D2 ANA Jet while Disney itself ran a public relations campaign by placing 500 Stormtroopers at The Great Wall of China.
Back home, Royal Selangor has unveiled its Star Wars collection which includes cufflinks, flashdrives, 8-inch figurines of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader and 4-inch figurines of Yoda, Stormtrooper, Boba Fett plus a Death Trinket Box. Above all is the star attraction, the RM3,000 “Return of the Jedi” diorama. A smart business move indeed. After all, Star Wars’ memorabilia have known to fetch big sums of money.
Just take a look at these: A replica of a 2007’s “Star Wars: A New Hope” Stormtrooper could cash in US$8,125; a 1978’s Luke Skywalker doll was sold for US$25,000, far above its estimated US$18,000. At an auction in Sotheby’s, Star Wars memorabilia fetched over US$500,000 from die-hard Star Wars fans.
Hence, obviously, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is poised to see more profits awaken, and a force to be reckoned with – at the box-office. Oscar nominations next?