Star Wars: The Power of Nostalgia

Ready or not, Star Wars is back. Just around the corner, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is ready to blast into theaters across the world with an unparalleled amount of anticipation this December. Following Episodes I, II and III, Disney looks to smash all box-office records with its first blockbuster title since acquiring the Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars Force AwakensThe Force Awakens is relying heavily on nostalgia, taking place after the events of the beloved original Star Wars trilogy. The original cast is returning, and with it a multitude of rabid fans, both young and old. Check out this record-breaking trailer with over 63 million views in less than 6 months.

While already breaking some records in the trailer-watching department, will The Force Awakens actually break box-office records? In this article from cinemablend.com, box-office analyst Phil Contrino makes the bold prediction,”It’s in the same spot as Avatar, which played and played and played. Force Awakens will hit $1 billion without blinking. If it’s really good, it could cross $2 billion.”

Let’s take a look at some past box-office numbers. Check out these statistics from boxofficemojo.com, and pay close attention to the overall and weekend records. Avatar holds the overall records of both domestic and worldwide releases. Avatar made over $2.7 billion worldwide over its theater-lifespan. In 2009, Avatar was released on December 18, the same date as The Force Awakens. Knowing this, we now can say that the release date is prime-time for record-breaking. Jurassic World, which was released earlier this year, holds the domestic and worldwide weekend record with over $524 million worldwide. These are astronomical numbers for the new Star Wars film to take on, but with the bases loaded, everything points to a grand-slam in the film industry.

So now that we see how successful it could be, let’s take a look at why many think it will reach that success.Keep in mind that I am not an expert in the film industry. I have, however, come up with my own reason why I think The Force Awakens will indeed be successful enough to break the box-office records. My reasoning boils down to a simple, elegant formula:

Fresh Elements + Nostalgia = Excitement

The higher the excitement, the more people will flock to see the movie, multiple times in many cases. It is already easy to see the the excitement in articles like this from Variety.com.

The Force Awakens PosterThe fresh elements that are working for the upcoming film include new characters, new environments, new plot lines and a new director in J.J. Abrams. Abrams has directed a number of successful movies and TV shows, including the two newest Star Trek movies, and two Mission Impossible films, and the TV series Lost. He is experienced in the Action-Adventure and Sci-Fi genres. Star Wars fits J.J. Abrams like a glove, and I think that even the most loyal Star Wars fans will not be disappointed in the final product.

While new elements will attract some viewers (people like it fresh), the real power behind this film is nostalgia. Returning elements from the original Star Wars trilogy from the late 70’s/early 80’s make this is possibly the most anticipated movie of all time. This is nostalgia at its finest. Older generations will come to see the next film in the franchise because they watch it as a child. Younger generations will come to see it because they have watched it as a child. The Force Awakens does not target a specific audience because it does not need to. Star Wars appeals to everyone, regardless of age, gender, class, race or religion.

Many of the original cast returns for The Force Awakens, including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker as R2-D2. They have all aged considerably, but we love it. Also making a return at age 83 is John Williams to conduct the musical score, who is just as beloved as any character in the series.

Force Awakens Chewy SoloThe combination of the young and the old has resulted in unparalleled excitement, the likes of which the film industry has never seen. Will the record-breaking excitement turn into record-breaking success? Only time will tell.

Do you think this movie will break box office records? Is nostalgia really the driving force behind the excitement, or do you think it’s something else?

Seth Ebling

2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Power of Nostalgia

  1. I definitely think that the movie will break box office records. With the viewership numbers on Youtube of the trailer I think this movie is poised to break records. I do also believe nostalgia is going to play a huge role in people going out to see this movie, but I also think just curiosity of how this new movie is going to turn out after all the greatness of the others is something that will get people out to see the movie as well.

  2. This movie is going to destroy the box office records. With all 3 of the trailers being out and there not being a hint of the storyline it’s leaving people with a mysterious mind boggling feeling. Bringing back all of the original cast is going to be fantastic solely because of nostalgia reasons. I remember watching episodes 4, 5, and 6 on VHS at my grandparents house, so our generation will go see it and so will the older generations because they grew up with it as well.

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