Posted on November 30, 2016 by Double Toasted

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In a few weeks, 'Star Wars: Rogue One' will make it's theatrical debut in thousands of theaters worldwide. As of now, toys and other Star Wars themed merch, hang in salute to this Christmas' holiday buying season. A DLC map-pack has already been confirmed for EA's Battlefront game, and pre-sale tickets for the flick have already gone on sale; selling off close to 75% of all opening screenings. And yet, (and don't quote me) I think this movie may fail. (At least in "Disney" standards.) It won't "bomb" in the typical blockbuster fashion, but it could underperform in a way that will force Disney to take a serious look at their business model for these standalone Star Wars entries. I say this for a menagerie of reasons, but mostly one in particular: the buzz for this movie seems to be close to nil.

A few weeks ago, Korey and I were going over upcoming movie schedules and screener times, and try as we might, neither of us could remember with 100% certainty when 'Rogue One' was dropping in theaters. I thought it came out on Dec 6th; Korey, on the 18th, and as it turns out, we were both wrong. It comes out Dec 16th. I know this may seem trivial, but for two life long Star Wars fans, whose job is film and critiquing, this simple act of misinformation could spell trouble for the holiday sci-fi flick; whose fanbase usually captivates an audience that generally memorizes these dates well in advance. So goes the question, why is this happening? Star Wars is a license to print money, right?

One reason could be Disney themselves. Back in June of this year, it was reported that 'Rogue One' would be undergoing 4 weeks of expensive reshoots. The Magic Kingdom execs had noted that the first cut of the movie was a bit dour for a Star Wars movie and needed more levity and a sense of adventure. (sound a bit like another major Disney run franchise doesn't it?) Their reasoning being that 'Star Wars: A New Hope' is lighter in tone, and 'Rogue One' should do it's best to match that. Which personally I would call bullshit on. Remember how hilarious it was when uncle Owen and aunt Beru were charred to death? Truthfully, the lightening of tone probably has more to do with this new movie falling in line with 'The Force Awakens', and not so much 'Episode IV'. Generally these types of behind the scenes qualms could spell certain doom for the movie (or franchise) in question. A bad or rushed script never seems to convey a sense of confidence in a product, regardless of what the property is. But there may be other factors contributing to possible demise of this lackluster blockbuster...

Image result for death star explosion

'Rogue One' is being toted as the first standalone Star Wars movie. Meaning, it doesn't directly correspond with the SkyWalked Legacy of previous episodic chapters, but rather tells a story that is nestled and woven within them. And although it's not entirely true that this is the first non-chaptered entry, (there were two Ewok movies) conveying the benefits of a new(ish) story outside of the direct chronology, may be difficult to convey to modern audiences. Disney has to effectively relay unto it's disciples that this iteration will be just as entertaining as the others, regardless of one's preset engagement and connection to a set group of known films. It's not a reboot, but it might as well be. Marvel's 'Dr. Strange' did well, and so did 'Antman', but both came out against little to no competition, and still had an uphill battle when garnering similar numbers brought in by their fellow ironclad and hammer swinging brethren.

There is another issue to consider though.

There's no argument that 2016 has been the most tumultuous year in US history since possibly 2001 (or maybe even 1968). And as a result our focuses have shifted elsewhere. Whether it be: the 2016 Election, an overhyped summer movie line-up, or a massive toll of beloved celebrity deaths; a newfound bankruptcy of public interest has created a general malaise for all things pop-culture related. This time last year when 'The Force Awakens' was about to be released, you could say life was a bit simpler. Movie-going habits during times of social unrest tend to change depending on the magnitude of altering political and sociological facets. People tend to seek out less fantasy based escapism when they are faced with the day-to-day struggles of their own life (ironically), but also look for more grounded storytelling when their surroundings are hostiler than usual. People are always trying to level out the degree of exposure to the unimaginable and bizarre. This doesn't bode well for Disney if these scenarios ring true; especially in today's exacerbated internet driven climate. Or, expectancies may shift for the same reasons, and cause the movie to perform better than expected instead of becoming a dull humdrum of a film; easily forgotten in years to come.

We all know the outcome of the Death Star. When you hold the mirror of self reflection up to this entire Star Wars franchise, 'Rogue One' may very well be gearing up to do a Death Star run on itself. In an odd twist, Disney seems to be naively referencing themselves as the purveyors of an ill-fated franchise that's inescapable outcome is parsecs away from imploding. They continue to construct a massive movie that may not perform to their own predetermined standards. Much like a giant planet killing super weapon, destroyed by a simple overlooked exhaust port, Disney may have to stand back and watch as all of it's efforts come to a screeching halt due to their own lack of insight. If only they saw the movie that comes directly after 'Rogue One'...

-Will Valle Image result for mega maid
    • Wayne

      I’m just gonna leave this here:

      “As of January 1, 2017, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now the second highest-grossing film domestically of 2016, passing Captain America: Civil War ($408.1 million) but remaining behind the year’s reigning champ, Finding Dory ($486.3 million). All three films are Disney releases.”

      • Double Toasted

        It also made literally half as much as The Force Awakens with 1 billion worldwide, compared to the 2 billion take in that TFA had, which was the point I was making with the statement. Clearly, that was lost on you.