Star Wars The Force Awakens
Star Wars the Force Awakens - $2 billion+
June 2, 2016: Force Awakens finally closes its run after 168 days with a global box office haul of $2,068,223,624 billion.
April 15, 2016: It might be out on home media now (Star Wars: The Force Awakens + Bonus Features - Amazon ) but it's still playing around the world in various theaters, and has piled up a remarkable $2,064,142,689 billion in gross, which puts the movie just behind Avatar and Titanic in all time worldwide earnings for all films.
The Force Awakens now at $2 Billion
Feb 6, 2016: Disney's relaunch of Star Wars into 21st century cinema has garnered a $900,831,469 total as of Feb 5 for the North American market, and a total of $1,097,200,000 from foreign markets, bringing the grand total to $1,998,031,469 after 50 days in theatres.
Dec 27, 2015: Worldwide total net after ten days in release is at $1.09 billion, and the trajectory of the viewership makes Han, Leia and Luke & crew on course to easily push past $1.5 billion, if not higher.
Dec 21: Director J. J. Abrams revisits the original Star Wars films heavily in the box-office busting Star Wars the Force Awakens - just look at these numbers after three days:
USA/Domestic $238,000,000 and Foreign $279,000,000
Total Worldwide 3-day earnings $517,000,000
Art by Renato Cunha - online web page
Review: The Force Awakens
Playing it safe
Abrams (and the Disney Company) play it safe and utilize a lot from the original films, giving us sand-swept David Lean-style vistas, a land-speeder scene (using a different looking land speeder, but a repeat of the famous Star Wars scene all the same) and many other familiar elements (for example, a Catina scene) that play on both the nostalgia of the original audience and also gets this new film off the ground in a fail safe way. The wrecked Empire battlecruisers littered about in the background made me realize that Disney/Abrams is declaring absolute fealty to the Lucas playbook, circa 1977, that the viewer is to be immersed into a genuine, official Star Wars environment, one that plays the amazing trick of both showing the aging of the franchise and to present it again as an all new adventure, simultaneously. (Abram's dedication to preserving Hollywood aesthetics went as far as shooting The Force Awakens on 65mm and 35mm film.)
The Disney Way
Of the three big acquisitions Disney has made in the last decade (Pixar, Marvel Comics and the Star Wars franchise) only Pixar has had a noticeable corruption of the quality that made the company worthwhile. Perhaps this makes sense that Disney would want to eventually kill (slowly) the only serious competitor that could have eclipsed the Disney claim to leading in children's animation films (and eventually the lucrative merchandising that is attendant to popular kid characters). The first Disney-owned Pixar 2012 film Brave showed the first signs of the transformation of a thrall Pixar, with common Disney animated tropes and ideas appearing in the movie. Doing so began the nagging question, if a Pixar film is like a Disney film, why make a Pixar film at all?
It is a different story with Star Wars (and Marvel) since Disney had no serious presence in those respective fields and the investment represents the expansion of Disney properties and money-making opportunities, not annihilating a feared rival.
Darth Vader - "Awakens" by Pawel Kuczynski
Meanwhile, in outer space
Instead of a Death Star there's a "death planet," and the same teamwork and derring-do of the first trilogy, the Rebel Scum up against the cruel Nazi-like commanders of the Empire, continues (Abrams bothers with some humanization of the Stormtroopers, something not attempted in the three original films, so that in itself is a small innovation).
There's even a plot twist that is revealed using the same intimacy in the midst of a battle as the famed Darth Vader / Luke Skywalker confrontation "I am your father" - Han Solo goes out on a metal bridge to face his son Kylo Ren. (The chasm below in this scene recalls the chasm that Gandolf plunged into during the Fellowship of The Ring.)
Key members of the original cast are on the screen (appearances staggered carefully ... Harrison Ford dominates this first film of this new series, though the ending of The Force Awakens makes it clear that Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will have much more to do in the subsequent films), and John Williams' music tinkles and marches through the speakers with the same old music themes, with variations filling the airspace (and a faint Empire March playing when Vader's demolished helmet is shown, a homage to the character and sort of hilarious all at the same time).
This is all masterful repackaging on the part of Abrams and Disney, bending backwards into the past and presenting it verbatim, and revitalizing the story with 21st century ideas about characters (especially with the character Rey played by Daisy Ridley). It's not original, but it is a well done copy.
Phil Noto - Star Wars VII
Art by Phil Noto
Force Awakens poster designs by Chris Raimo - web site
Original Page Dec 23, 2015 | Updated Dec 2016
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