So far the performance of the Star Wars movies has not surprised me in the slightest. There really aren’t strong figures to go on for the OT and with all the re-releases of Star Wars in those early years it really slants things. It was a game changer on many levels. The rest of the OT had to live up to that and did a great job. They were able to craft a sequel that was better than the original in many ways, though the younger version of myself did not appreciate it.
But since TPM, I have been tracking things. Box Office numbers can be fun to look at. TPM had along run. AOTC had a shorter run. ROTS had the shortest run, but the biggest opening. Just from what I’ve seen, this is likely to be the trend for the ST.
Another trend I’ve noticed is that complaints reduce over time. As time goes on the lasting impression of the films improves. The initial complaints mellow out and more attention is paid to what was done well.
Ultimately the only two statistics that we can track long term are box office numbers and home video numbers.
But here are some variables to consider to interpret the Google stats presented here. Age of fans. Social media use of fans. Dedicated online sites for fandom. Quality of trailer. Quality of toys. Variety of toys. Collectableness of toys. Well, I could go on and on with different things that can very widely and affect stats. Harry Potter fans were largely young when the first books came out and were of an internet savy generation. Marvel fans came in all ages. There had been a few movies, but mostly comic books. But the age of some of the characters means you have a mix of fans covering a wide range of ages and duration. Star Wars has a huge and varied fan base. Fans have come on board with every film and every decade. The thing Star Wars has are many online communities (like this one). So when looking at statistics from Google we have to ask if things are different. What stats are going to give the full picture.
For instance, you can wander over to YouTube to the official Star Wars channel and look up how many views the various trailers have had. The thing you have to keep in mind is that those numbers are not static and keep growing. And the channel isn’t old enough to cover the PT, much less the OT, so it is only useful for comparing the ST and the stand alones. The first teasers in order of release are:
TFA: 24 million
R1: 45 million
TLJ: 44 million
Solo: 13 million
TROS: 31 million
There was a second teaser for TLJ that has 82 million
Then there are the official trailers, not including TROS which hasn’t come out yet:
TFA: 103 million
R1: 38 million
TLJ: 53 million
Solo: 18 million
There was a second trailer for Rogue One that has 27 million
And then the box office from Box Office Mojo (adjusted domestic gross and including all the films):
AHH SE: 271,395,100
TESB SE: 132,691,800
ROTJ SE: 89,256,800
Of the new films, Solo has done the worst in all areas. If you go by this list and the number of views just of the first trailer for TROS, I’d predict the teaser gets 5-10 million more views by the time the movie is released, the full trailer will have 50-60 million views, and the box office will be better than TLJ, but under $700,000,000.
And to me it isn’t a mystery why Solo bombed. It was the combination of too close to TLJ, the casting, the subject matter, and stiff competition in the theaters. The views of the trailer show the lack of interest.
But my question again is if the Google stats are so informative and show a lack of interest in TROS, why the views of the trailer are so high? And if it is so accurate, why didn’t Rogue One overtake TFA at the box office? Rogue One made more than ROTS, but less than TFA or TLJ, even though by these graphs it should have made more than at least TLJ. But it didn’t. Statistics can be very flawed. The trick is to find solid and repeatable statistics that do provide useful predictive information.
And as a side note, Avengers Endgame is #16 for adjusted box office for all time, between Avatar and ROTJ.
You see, that’s where you’re wrong. With statistics there’s always an amount of uncertainty, and so even if the relationship is strong (correlations > 50%), a movie that shows higher interest can get lower box office returns or vice versa, meaning that interest x will result in y +/- e, where e is a measure of uncertainty, and so the prediction for the box office of RO may be 1300 M +/- 300 M, and TLJ 1100 M +/- 300 M. In any case the relationship between google searches and toy sales has proven to be even stronger, and so the decline of interest in Star Wars can not only be expressed in terms of google search volume, but in toy earnings, which we know have decreasing significantly over the last few years. Many attributed this to decreasing toy sales in general, but now we can show it is simply related to less interest in the brand in general.