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Monday Mixer: Welcome to 'Star Wars' week!

Posted Monday, December 14, 2015 at 2:26 PM Central

by John Couture

Star Wars. Blah blah. Star Wars.

Did I mention that it's Star Wars week?

Unless you've been living in a cave and even then I'm pretty sure that you would still know that this is the week that has been in the making for over a decade. This week marks the debut of The Force Awakens and I apologize ahead of time because we might get a bit carried away this week.

If you're looking for Star Wars information, you're in the right place. If not, then you might want to unplug for the next couple of weeks and resurface sometime in the new year. Let's face it, you can't go anywhere these days without being hit in the face with multiple reminders of the new J.J. Abrams film.

As much as the world was in a frenzy in 1999 the week that The Phantom Menace debuted, I'm willing to bet that the buzz is even more palpable this week. We had no clue what to expect in 1999. Up until that point, we didn't live in a world where Star Wars could disappoint us.

Now, we are well aware that they just can't stamp "Star Wars" on any old thing and make us fall in love with it. No, this time, the expectations are even higher and the perils are even realer than ever. Disney took a $4 billion gamble on the franchise and while many think that they will make out like bandits over the long haul, it all hinges on this movie.

If this film is a catastrophe, or even if it's just OK, then the entire foundation of the empire that Disney hopes to construct could topple out from underneath them. With three Star Wars films on the schedule to be released in the next 18 months, that's a massive amount riding on the success of a single film.

No pressure at all J.J.

Box Office 411

So, this weekend I turned 41 which isn't such a great milestone as the big birthdays go, but it was a good one nonetheless. Celebrating my birthday made me realize that I'm one of the few (fewer every day I suppose) who was born in a world where Star Wars did not exist - save for in the head of George Lucas. Think about that for a moment. We are approaching the 40th anniversary of Star Wars and soon we will live in a world that has never not known the iconic film.

That is pretty mind-blowing. What wasn't mind-blowing though was this weekend's box office performance. Do you want to know just how bad the business was? It was historically bad. The collective top 12 grossed just over $68 million which was the lowest performance of this weekend since 1998.

The top movie that weekend? Star Trek: Insurrection. Yeah, that is at least one, maybe two, Star Trek crews back. Speaking of Star Trek, there was news on that front but check back later.

This weekend, the "winner" was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 which had a modest $40 million drop to take the weekend crown for the fourth and final time. This weekend's $11.3 million brought up its total to $244 million, but I'm not sold that it will have much life left in it after this week.

The only newcomer in the bunch, In the Heart of the Sea, failed to get its white whale (again) and only made just north of $11 million to finish in second place. You would think that Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth would be box office gold, but that hasn't exactly panned out over two films. The pair also worked together in 2013's critical darling but box office bomb Rush. That film finished up with $26.9 million and In the Heart of the Sea will struggle to make it to $25 million.

The real question at the box office is what will happen this coming weekend? The Force Awakens will be huge, we know that. But how high can it go? Will any other film surpass $10 million for the weekend? Will Sisters or Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip be hurt (or even helped) by Star Wars hype? As Yoda would say, "Impossible to see the future is. Always in motion is the future."

Quick Hitters

  • This is Star Wars week, which means that it's all Star Wars, all the time. That's right, you guessed it. Each quick hitter this week will be related to The Force Awakens.

    Last night, the popular news magazine program 60 Minutes presented a brief look into the life of The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams as he preps the latest Star Wars film for release. The piece was well done (naturally) and leaned heavily on the musical score from the legendary John Williams.

    I never realized just how much input Steven Spielberg had upon the decision for Disney to bring Abrams on board and his ability to get J.J. over his initial lack of desire to direct the epic film. Thanks, Steven!

    As we mentioned, the piece focused heavily on the score and there was the following video that contains the first music that we will hear in the new film (after the scroll naturally).

  • It is the holidays and what better way to celebrate than a kitschy never-before-created Star Wars holiday special. Oh no, not that other Star Wars holiday special centered around wookies and Life Day. No, this one is built around droids and droid day and offers some of the "best" guesses to what we will see in this week's film.

  • Finally today, you knew that SNL wouldn't miss one last chance to get their digs in before The Force Awakens opens in theaters. This time, they have their sights perfectly set upon those grown up kids who just can't let go, or open their Star Wars toys.

May the Mixer be with you.