Star Wars makes the big bucks

“Luke, I am your father.” Darth Vader’s gravelly voice echoes through the chamber. “No, that’s not true,” one-handed Luke Skywalker screams in disbelief and agony before he jumps down a hole into the abyss. Most Americans instantly recognize this iconic scene from the franchise that changed the course of cinema.
Star Wars, directed by George Lucas, pushed its way into the box office in May of 1977. Considered a low budget B-movie, Star Wars opened to only 43 theaters. However, each week more theaters began to show the movie. Star Wars remained in theaters for almost 70 weeks, and made more than $460 million.
“The first Star Wars was so appealing because it brought a new genre to the big screen with a great storyline that hadn’t been heard before,” sophomore Christian studies major Franklin Groseclose said.
From this point on, Lucasfilms began licensing the brand to other companies for merchandise. In addition to the usual action figures and T-shirts, some rather unorthodox items have been spotted including airsickness bags, Darth Vader toasters, and fishing gear.
During the next 28 years, Lucasfilms released five more Star Wars films, including three prequels to the original Star Wars movie. Star Wars was renamed as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when these prequels were released.
Disney bought the franchise in 2012 for $4 billion from George Lucas. Once they acquired the franchise, Disney instantly expressed interest in adding onto the Star Wars saga.
“When I heard that Disney owned Star Wars, I was angry, because it seems like they own almost everything. But when I saw the new Star Wars movie, I was very pleasantly surprised,” freshman nursing major Michaela Williams said.
In December of 2015, Disney released Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Thousands of moviegoers of all ages flocked to see the new movie featuring old characters such Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Han Solo, and new characters such as Finn and Rey.
“Star Wars is a movie franchise that a generation has been able to pass to the next,” Groseclose said. “Since our parents grew up on it, they understood what it would be like to see Star Wars once again, and it is appealing to the younger generation because of the action and that it was probably part of their childhood as well.”
After just 20 days in theaters, Star Wars: The Force Awakens beat Avatar’s $760,507,625 domestic gross to become the #1 grossing movie in the nation.
For those of you who have not seen the newest movie, let’s just say that Disney left everyone with a cliffhanger. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2017 to find out what happens. In the meantime, may the force be with you.

Author: Lauren Lum

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