Rey (Jakku) (VC116)  - Hasbro - The Vintage Collection (2018)
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Will The "The Marvels" Box Office Disaster Impact Star Wars?

Unless you live under a rock you will have heard of Disney’s latest box office disaster. The Marvels is a colossal flop at the box office, so colossal, that it will not just be Disney’s biggest box office flop ever, it will be the biggest money loser in the history of Hollywood, period. But this is not about The Marvels, the question is if this unmitigated disaster will have an impact on Star Wars. Why? Because Disney should be in panic mode right now and sadly, there are quite a few similarities to what Marvel is experiencing now and what may happen to Star Wars in the the near future. If all of Kathleen Kennedy’s plans ever come to fruition. So let’s discuss why The Marvels may impact Star Wars, what the similarities between the two franchises are, and what any of that means! Click through for more!


First the basics, so you know what I talk about:

The Marvels’ currently confirmed budget is $272 milion, that was however before the 2023 reshoots, so you can easily add a couple millions more to that figure. You can also easily add $100 million for worldwide marketing and therefore total cost for the movie is something like $370 – $400 million. Which means to break even the movie needs to make roughly $700-$800 million at the worldwide box office. As things are The Marvels will probably make something between $200-$240 million worldwide and maybe $90 million domestic. The Marvels has the worst 2nd weekend box office drop of all comic book movies ever. Performing even worse than previous record holder “Morbius”, that Sony Jared Leto movie no one saw.

Disney will lose close to $300 million with The Marvels, which is even worse, believe it or not, than the Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny disaster from earlier this year. And while other movies sold way fewer tickets, Heaven’s Gate from 1980s is still an impressive flop given the year it was released in, The Marvels will lose a lot more money for the studio, even adjusted for inflation. It will even surpass John Carter, which is quite an achievement.

But we’re not really here to to talk about Marvel, even though it is quite impressive how Kevin Feige took the franchise from alltime high in 2019 to alltime low in 2023. I bet Kathleen Kennedy is currently fist pumping in her office all day long, because Feige took the heat off of her for a while and her Indy 5 flop is not even the biggest Disney disaster this year any longer.

But the big question is: is The Marvels just a sign of things to come for Star Wars, given what the current plans for Star Wars are?

Because when you look at what Star Wars is doing and is planning to do in the near future you see many of the things that resulted in the embarrassing flop that is The Marvels.

  • an unproven, undeserving, unqualified and untested smalltime indie director is tasked with directing the Rey movie: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, now I am not saying she is necessarily a “bad” director, but fact is she has literally zero experience directing $200 million blockbusters that are supposed to please mass audiences, in fact, she is primarily known for her documentary work which even earned her an Academy Award (Chloe Zhao who directed the Eternals flop had also won an Oscar before). Nia DaCosta, who directed The Marvels, likewise had zero experience directing big blockbuster movies going into the project, with her only work of any note the unsuccessful and failed all black $20 million Candyman reboot/remake/sequel
  • just like with Captain Marvel, quite a few people are not necessarily enamored with Rey and generally speaking there seems to be little hype and even less enthusiasm for any Rey sequel to the sequels, just like Marvel and Kevin Feige Kathleen Kennedy seems to entirely ignore these early rumblings, similar to how she completely ignored the very tepid fan reaction to the announcement of a Solo spin-off movie and decided to spend a metric ton of money on it after firing the original directors shortly before completion
  • the Mandoverse Thrawn movie, just like The Marvels, will be based on several Disney+ series or at least assume you have watched a few Disney+ shows. This made The Marvels almost look like “homework”, where you are required to have watched three shows in total to even understand who the new characters are or what this is all about
  • at least two Star Wars Disney+ shows will be released in 2024 (as far as we know) that may very well underperform badly, Skeleton Crew and especially The Acolyte. All the recent Marvel shows did not reach the heights of the early entries, Ms Marvel is the least watched series, She-Hulk didn’t make the top 10 every week either and didn’t exactly inspire fans, Secret Invasion is considered a major disappointment and even Loki season 2, thus far, is greatly underperforming with just 60% of the season 1 audience. Furthermore, just like Marvel, Star Wars is already showing signs of fatigue on Disney+ even without Skeleton Crew and The Acolyte. While The Mandalorian was still the #1 hit show on Disney it lost about 40% of the season 2 audience, when you look at total accumulated viewership for the entire season, the reason for that is that season 2 remained in the top 10 much longer than season 3, but even on an episode per episode basis most season 3 episodes performed worse than their season 2 counterparts (but not all, the first episode performed better) and Ahsoka, while not a flop, still underperformed compared to previous shows excluding Andor here, which still beat the Ahsoka finale numbers though

The one major difference between Marvel and Star Wars is that Kennedy and Iger, either wisely or out of necessity, decided to stop making movies in 2019 and thus kept Star Wars from taking any further damage at the box office, because make no mistake, after The Rise of Skywalker a next movie in 2020 would almost certainly have flopped really hard. Whereas Feige and Disney believed they can keep pumping out three movies and three shows per year, replace the majority of popular characters with b-tier and c-tier characters and hire absolute nobodies (as far as mainstream blockbusters are concerned) as writers and directors who, in the Hollywood of old, would never have got the job based on the lack of any actual merits. Although it is generally believed that Feige calls all the real shots and the directors or showrunners are mostly just figureheads, Feige, who is someone who failed five times to enter film school, he was never accepted.

So what will Bob Iger do? He just witnessed how his former cash cow, Marvel, has gone up in flames and gave him the biggest money loser in the history of the company (and all of Hollywood). And then he looks at Star Wars and he must realize that the danger of a Rey movie flopping as catastrophically as The Marvels is nonzero, in fact, there is a good chance it may flop. Because even though the sequels have their fans, just like Captain Marvel or Ms Marvel have fans, many absolutely dislike or even hate the movies.

The Filoni movie may share the same fate, because, it too, like The Marvels, makes various Disney+ shows required viewing, shows that only reached a fraction of the fanbase leaving more general audiences completely confused and clueless as to who these people are in the movie. Which is one accusation already aimed at Ahsoka. Which did “ok” on Disney+, but still only reached a fraction of the audience The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi and even The Book of Boba Fett had. However, Ahsoka, thus far, easily outperformed any Marvel show in 2023, including Loki season 2.

Now not all things are the same though. Star Wars in 2023 is absolutely in a better place than Marvel. And unlike Marvel Star Wars also had a commercially successful video game with Jedi Survivor (and before that with Fallen Order), whereas both Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy underperformed or even flopped. And unlike Brie Larson Daisy Ridley is generally liked by the vast majority of people. That could help the movie. But then again: Daisy Ridley’s general likability has done nothing for her career, her career post Star Wars does basically not exist, sure she has projects, movies, other things, but none of them enjoy any success at all and are mostly just smalltime indie projects no one is watching.

It may also very well be that Disney will time things in such a way that they release The Mandalorian season 4 (or 5) just before the release of the Mandoverse movie. And if The Mandalorian manages to be the #1 Disney+ show and if future seasons greatly improve on season 3 again (unsure), this could result in more hype for the movie, something Secret Invasion absolutely failed to do for The Marvels. Also, unlike The Marvels, the Filoni movie could (and probably would) feature the Star Wars MVPs, Luke Skywalker, Leia and Han Solo, in some capacity, either as deepfakes or in recast roles.

Then again, it is heavily rumoured Pedro Pascal will not return for The Mandalorian, not even as a voice actor, he was already never on set during season 3. But with Pedro securing the role as Reed Richards in the upcoming (if not cancelled) Fantastic 4 movie and his role in Last of Us season 2 (though probably only in very early episodes) he will probably be too busy or feel that Star Wars at this point is just holding him back. So a season 4 (or 5) of The Mandalorian with a new Mandalorian voice actor may face some challenges… however, you may argue, that Pascal is hardly of any consequence here, since you rarely see his face and he’s basically just a voice. And it may be that audiences will consider the inclusion of the original trilogy characters (if that is indeed the plan) just as a ploy and gimmick. Still, there is absolutely a chance both the Rey movie and the Filoni movie may succeed, the odds are not quite as bad as with The Marvels, which is a perfect storm.

But all in all I feel the danger of Star Wars falling into the same trap as Marvel is real and should not be ignored. Star Wars cannot afford a massive box office flop like The Marvels. A Rey movie that flops on the level of The Marvels (or just flops without being the super massive bomb The Marvels is) could kill Star Wars movies for good, even more so if a follow-up Thrawn Filoni movie also fails or underperforms.

So in my opinion Bob Iger should swallow that red pill, get a grip on reality, fire both Feige and Kennedy and start from scratch. Which means, cancel ALL Star Wars movies. Find a new Lucasfilm president, develop an all new trilogy or maybe even just a stand alone movie with some potential for future installments, but a movie that mostly tells a self-contained story, similar to A New Hope in 1977, that, while not all plot threads are resolved, ends with the heroes scoring a big win, the movie feels complete, not like a trailer for the next thing. Announce just this one movie, and nothing else and have future plans depend on the success of this one movie, instead of being locked in with projects that may be destined to fail, because you ignored the signs and announced projects years in advance without even knowing how audiences will react to the first movie in the new sequence of movies.

I believe Star Wars needs something like that. And the movie should also be entirely removed from the sequels, they should not even be mentioned, no sequel characters should return, even the original characters should not return, create something entirely new, set the movie in the far future or distant past, preferably the far future. And I may sound like a broken record… talk to the Japanese studio and writer who are responsible for The 9th Jedi Visions short and ask them to turn that into a proper movie, because this story and the characters seem like the perfect blueprint for a fresh start without any baggage whatsoever, a movie that recaptures the old magic, but requires zero prior knowledge. But for that Disney would have to swallow their pride and admit the sequels have failed creatively, not financially, but absolutely creatively.

Maybe it would also be wise to shelve The Acolyte altogether. While the show could certainly be great, chances are it will be highly controversial and not even reach a fraction of the audience other shows have. Likewise, Iger should absolutele shelve the Marvel shows Agatha Harkness and Ironheart, both already completed, and never release them on Disney+ and perform a Willow maneuver, because it’s obvious both shows will flop and further damage the Marvel brand before Feige or whoever will be in charge in the future can maybe salvage what’s left of the franchise with an Avengers movie reuniting the old cast in 2026/7 or so.

But what do you think? Do you think The Marvels box office disaster could have a real impact on future Star Wars plans? Or do you think Kennedy and Iger will march forward without pause and give full steam ahead for the Rey movie and any of the other announced projects?

What do you want Disney to do? Do you want a Rey movie, which could absolutely be great of course, do you want a Filoni Thrawn movie? Do you want Skeleton Crew and The Acolyte? Or would you wish Iger (or Disney) wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, not just for Star Wars, but also Marvel, since it’s extremely likely the 2025 movies Captain America 4 without the actual Captain America and Thunderbolts may crash as hard as The Marvels, or at least almost as badly. And Deadpool 3 next year is not really an MCU movie and not indicative of any success Captain America 4 and the other upcoming projects may have. Just like any success of future The Mandalorian seasons have little impact on the success of any future Rey movie.


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