"Star Wars" aims light sabers at Spidey's web

Discussion in 'Espionage Report' started by AmShak, May 13, 2002.

  1. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

    With a $223 million box office already caught in "Spider-Man's" two-week-old web, the focus of Hollywood's weekly box office battle shifts to "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," which debuts Thursday to huge anticipation.
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    Ahead of summer -- the movie industry's busiest season -- "Episode II" was picked to top the box office charts, but last week's record-breaking "Spider-Man" debut put that forecast in jeopardy.
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    Read more here.
     
  2. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

    "Star Wars" aims light sabers at Spidey's web
    Monday May 13 4:03 AM ET


    With a $223 million box office already caught in "Spider-Man's" two-week-old web, the focus of Hollywood's weekly box office battle shifts to "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," which debuts Thursday to huge anticipation.

    Ahead of summer -- the movie industry's busiest season -- "Episode II" was picked to top the box office charts, but last week's record-breaking "Spider-Man" debut put that forecast in jeopardy.

    The $115 million three-day opening weekend for "Spider-Man" last week took most of Hollywood by surprise -- except for "Star Wars" creator George Lucas who said knew "Spider-Man" would be a hit. But the legendary director said he was less concerned about breaking records than about fans enjoying his film.

    "I want it to be in high-quality theaters. I want to have digital sound. I want it to be a good presentation to the audience," Lucas said. "I don't have to break records. It doesn't make any difference to me."

    "Episode II" shows the start of young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker's turn toward evil and the sinister "dark side of The Force."

    The "Star Wars" films, which began in 1977 with Episode 4, are hugely popular. "Episode 1" in 1999 remains No. 3 on the all-time worldwide box office list with $920 million in ticket sales. "Episode II," the second in the series, is actually the fifth of six planned space adventures whose release dates span nearly 30 years.

    Box office watchers said there will be no easy comparison between the "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars" debuts for several reasons. First among them is the number of film prints Lucas and distributor 20th Century Fox will put in theaters.

    A Fox spokeswoman said a final count has yet to be made.

    Gitesh Pandya, editor of boxofficeguru.com, estimates Fox will ship around 6,000 prints of the "Star Wars" film to about 3,100 theaters. That would be roughly 1,500 prints fewer than Sony shipped for "Spider-Man," Pandya said.

    Obviously, with fewer prints in theaters, it will be hard for "Episode II" to beat "Spider-Man."

    The second issue making comparisons difficult is that "Episode II" debuts on a Thursday, giving it a four-day opening compared with three-day opening weekend for "Spider-Man."

    "'Spider-Man's' $115 million will be very difficult for "Star Wars" on a 3-day basis, but for the four days, it should get into that ballpark or higher. I think it will definitely be over "Episode I's" $105 million over 5 days," said Pandya.

    He also figures that by the time "Episode II" has finished its domestic box office run, its gross will surpass $400 million, putting it in league with "Episode I" domestically.

    Lucas said "Episode II" needs to make about $300 million domestically to be "home free" in the profit arena.

    "I feel confident we can do it, (but) it's not a slam dunk," he said. "If it does $285 (million), that's okay. If it does $205 (million), it's a disappointment and we have to rethink the things we are doing about the next one."

    Pandya said the difference in running times between the movies -- "Episode II" is about 15 minutes longer than "Spider-Man" -- should make little difference.

    "Episode II" has a time of about two hours, 20 minutes. That is roughly on a par with last fall's "Harry Potter (news - web sites) and the Sorcerer's Stone," which until "Spider-Man" had owned the record for best three-day opening with $90 million.

    One recent way to track a movie's box office potential has been to look at advance ticket sales online. Art Levitt, president of ticket seller Fandango.com, said early advance ticket sales for "Episode II" are running ahead of "Potter."

    "On a daily basis, 'Star Wars' sales have been significantly higher than they were for 'Harry Potter, and that is a strong statement," said Levitt. "Starting Sunday, the 'Star Wars' sales, online, will begin to escalate."

    So, with only four days to go before the curtain finally comes up on "Episode II," the box office looks like it will be relatively strong, and once again, "The Force" appears to be with Lucas and his films -- at least, at the box office.

    Lucas's production company LucasFilm Ltd. is privately held, and 20th Century Fox is a unit of Fox Entertainment Group Inc. and its parent, News Corp. Ltd.

    Reuters/Variety
     
  3. Nightwing

    Nightwing New Recruit

    I don't mean to diss Lucas, but "Legendary?" he has only directed a few films. Now if it meant legendary by how he advanced cinema in special effects, that is different. But I don't think he is a legendary director with the films he has made.
     
  4. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

    I'll hop up on my Lucas band wagon for a moment....

    Perhaps "director" is a poor choice of words but "legendary" is not. He has been on the production end of some of the biggest money making movies to ever be released. His contribution to the movie industry has been far more than making a better special effect. He has changed the way that movies are made and I'm not just talking about the actual filming. Just with Star Wars, he has created an entire universe completely seperate from our own that we all can escape to. Not to mention his MANY other projects.
     
  5. Nightwing

    Nightwing New Recruit

    I agree with that, Amshak. "legendary film maker" is a better term, I think.
     

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