It’s official. Star Wars owns American cinema, and by logical deduction, the rest of the global film industry will quickly follow suit. It also stands to reason that the multi-billion dollar coup catalyzed by Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) will pay off handsome dividends. In just the seventh day of release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, “is already the 22nd highest domestic grosser of all time,” according to Variety. It is no stretch of the imagination to say that the latest flick in the science-fiction drama will obliterate almost every record worth obliterating.
The numbers are truly staggering. The Force Awakens hauled in over $391 million during its first week of release, completely upending the previous record of $296.2 million set by Jurassic World. In addition, Force rang up a monstrous $36 million during Christmas Eve. The previous record was set by Avatar, which brought in a comparatively diminutive $11.2 million. Worldwide, the latest Star Wars movie has raked in $813.5 million, and should hit the $1 billion mark by the time this article is released to the public, which naturally would break yet another record.
It’s easy to see why Force is such a dominant presence in the box office. There is simply no other pop-culture phenomenon that entices fully grown (mostly male) adults to act like retards. In this sense, Star Wars is more powerful than Big Pharma or government protocols to forcibly induce fluoride into our drinking water. Here, people willingly submit their souls for mind control and manipulation.
Force was always going to be a winner given this enormous backdrop of fanboy (and sadly, girl) support. It simply does not matter that — while thoroughly entertaining as a popcorn flick — this latest space saga had no original plot or motif whatsoever. Even some of the speaking lines were ripped directly off the original Star Wars trilogy. But this does not matter when you have Disney bankrolling the marketing campaign, and even apparently a majority of Hollywood critics. “What a beautiful, thrilling, joyous, surprising and heart-thumping adventure this is,” gushes renowned movie columnist Richard Roeper, who once used to bring hard-hitting independent analysis but is now comfortable in the role of an ass.
What is surprising, though, is the impact Force has had on the financial markets. If movie ticket revenue is the Light Side, clearly, market volatility is the Dark Side. On December 18 — the official release date of Force — Disney stock dropped 3.8% against the prior session. It also happened to shed the very same amount on an intraday basis. This is very unusual given that, for the most part, Disney has had a stellar year. In fact, the losses suffered on December 18 were the third-worst so far this year. Since the premiere of Force, DIS is in the red by nearly -5.5%.
While no one is suggesting that the latest troubles for DIS will bring down the empire of Walt Disney, it has to be careful that box office success not cloud its business judgment. The loss in share value equates very roughly to $10 billion — not an insignificant chunk of change no matter who you are.