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Star Wars becoming "mainstream" and "popular"

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People, perhaps this is a phenomena that only happened here, where I live, and in the United States Star Wars has always been mainstream, but... I have noticed how lately, with the prequels, people have embraced Star Wars as something "cool", where previously it belonged to fanboys and nerds and geeks - the same happened to Lord of the Rings.

When Star Wars opened here, it was a mild success. There was a lot of talking about it, and references were present at places you wouldn't expect - I own a 1978 local magazine where the letter section was supposedly read by C3PO, spoofing his... uh... personality. By the time the other films got here, it became more of a kid and cult thing, and not really mainstream. You would NEVER find the popular kids in school talking about it. You wouldn't have grownups watching it, let alone discussing it.

After 1983, it was pretty much over. When the movies were broadcasted on TV, it was usually as a daytime adventura-movie filler (the first SW film I've seen, ESB, was on daytime TV on the 80s). There was the VHS set (and in 1995, the faces set), but there wasn't a demand for SW products. There were toys, but they were sold as merely toys for kids, not because it was SW.

When the SE came, there was a brief hype about it, but merely commercial. Stuff like pizza hut giving away cups with the characters, and stuff like that. I remember I watched all three movies (thinking the SE was a limited edition of the films and would not replace the O-OT!!) but the theaters were not packed. There were mostly kids there, and some of them didn't even know those films were made 20 years before.

With the prequels, there was mass media attention and suddenly... Star Wars was mainstream. Kids in school would talk about it, even the "cool" ones who would never be seen with geeks and nerds. Like with Lord of the Rings, in which regular people - who would never even think about reading Tolkien - were reading freaking SIMARILLION, people were watching Star Wars, accepting that whole bizarre galactical universe filled with aliens and lightsaber fights as part of their culture.

I don't belive you guys would understand my point of view on this, kinda hard to explain... But have you noticed also how Star Wars is now among people who normally wouldn't apreciate this kind of thing? Have you noticed something similar with other things, like LOTR, or even Harry Potter? Do you think this is good, or bad?
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering
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It is an interesting subject, cause when I was growing up you either loved SW or not. And back in 1983, we defended SW fans, now the SW fans are bickering amongst themselves.

Is it cooler now to be a SW fan, that is a tough question. Maybe, cause the OT, or atleast the original & ESB are considered classics to many outside the SW box, but in a sense they have been helped so much by a lackluster prequel trilogy. I have so many friends say to me now that hated SW when we grew up about the new movies. "I was never a big fan of SW growing up, but the new ones really suck, the old ones are so much better."
They were the same people who didn't get SW 20 years ago, and still don't get it 20 years later, or even like the movies anymore 20 years later, but recognize that the movies are very good and so much better than the PT movies.

I still think the only mainstream SW movie was the original, the rest were made for the fans. I found at boxofficemojo.com the total number of tickets bought for every SW movie:

Star Wars (1977) 180 million
ESB (1980) 94 million
ROTJ (1983) 90 million
TPM (1999) 84 million
AOTC (2002) 54 million
ROTS (2005) 58 million

Now of course the OT had the SE and re-releases in the 80's to pad these numbers, but look how far the original is to any of the sequels, nothing comes close.

The problem that SW fans don't understand, especially PT fans, is that the mainstream only loved the original. It was a basic good vs evil story in 1977 with lovable characters, a cool bad guy, and effects that blew people out of their seats, it was the must see in 1977. I remember going to it with my mom, my two older brothers, and my friend and her parents when I was 5 years old. Everyone had to see SW in 1977, it was an event that summer for every movie fan.

After that they were just made for SW fans, and the masses didn't go, but it had such a huge fanbase, it still made a gazillion dollars for the 5 other movies. Even as much as I love ESB, the original SW still gets all the acclaim as being #15 on the AFI greatest movie list, goes into the movie archives.

Here is the boxoffice gross in 1997 for the SE releases:

Star Wars - 138 million
ESB - 67 million
ROTJ - 45 million

If ESB is so loved by all of us, including myself, why is the original double it even 20 years later? Cause fans who may not be diehard SW fans like ourselves love the original.

My whole point is I don't think SW has ever been mainstream since 1977, but we have such a big base of fans that it seems that way. As I said, I dont' know if it is any cooler that when we were growing up, but the mainstream is beginning to recognize how good the older films are, because the PT was so average compared to them. In that sense we should thank George for putting out an inferior product that has really distinguished the two trilogies: One great, one average.
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If Star Wars is the only mainstream SW film that would mean that the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Indiana Jones films, Shrek 1 and 2, Spiderman 1 and 2, the Harry Potter films, Jurassic Park and every film aside from Star Wars, Titanic and a couple others were little offbeat minor sleepers?! Hehe. That's not even remotely true. Hollywood would be in deep doodoo if that were true. With inflation, Empire is the 12th most popular film, and ahead of all of those other films I listed. Heck, even Menace ranks in the top 20 all-time with inflation.

The fact that all five SW sequels/prequels were mega blockbusters but still didn't sell nearly as many tickets as the first film shows that the first Star Wars was a mega-super-dooper-phenomenon to the 15th power! It was a phenomenon beyond description. Also, I think one of the reasons is so many more tickets was that it was the first of its kind and so almost everyone and their grandmother saw it at least once. It did tons of repeat business, stayed in theatres forever and just kept selling ticket after ticket. When Empire came out, you'd have to figure that maybe 20% of the people who saw the first film didn't like SW enough to want to see the sequel and of the people who did see Empire, most people probably saw it once or twice instead of 10, 15, 20 or 30 times.

And in terms of the Special editions, the films came out every three weeks, so it was a lot to ask of people to shell out money for all three SW films in a period of 6-7 weeks when most people owned the movies at home. Regardless, the Empire SE still did much better business than the ET rerelease in 2002.
George Lucas was seduced by the dark side. The OOT ceased to exist in his mind and became the Special Editions...." "They're more maching now than movies. Twisted and evil."
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Jenny, I am not demeaning ESB or ROTJ by saying they are not mainstream, because those movies have box office numbers movies would kill for. Just because the SW audience is so huge now, doesn't mean its mainstream.

Just look at the PT numbers, they all did great at the box office.

TPM- 431 million
AOTC- 310 million
ROTS- 380 million

But how many non-SW fans went to see these movies? I have one friend who saw TPM 6 times in the theater in 1999, that is a big reason SW numbers for all the movies are so high, they get repeat business from the same fans, and more repeat business from the same fans.

Lord of the Rings got that too, when each of their movies ended up at roughly 350-380 million, that is the cap amongst true fans for all these movies. Spiderman did 407 million, and the sequel did alittle over 300 million. But again would recommend these movies to any movie goer?

A movie like Titanic did 600 million, and was a true phenomenon in 1997-98. Now granted many fans saw it numerous times that pumped up the box office, but I would still recommend Titanic for anyone to see, my brother, my sister in law, a teenager, or even my mom or grandmom.

When the original SW came out, everyone of those people I just mentioned saw it in 1977. Partly because they 'had' to see it to see what all the fuss was about, but overall it is a standalone movie that is an enjoyable, fun movie that has an ending and could have ended there. I would not hesitate to this day to recommend the original SW to anyone of any ages to watch it, and putting aside the 5 sequels, I am pretty sure they will enjoy the movie, and maybe even really like it.

For the other 5 SW movies, I don't know if I could recommend them. To me, as good as ESB is, and I think it is just as great as SW original, you still have to LOVE SW to like this movie, it delves more into the characters, it doesn't have an ending, and the good guys lose in the end. But it is atleast a great movie, so that would be the only sequel I would think to recommend.

ROTJ, TPM, AOTC, and ROTS are just sequels that live by the SW name, and other than SW fans, anyone non SW fan movie goer would think these movies are pure shit.

The original SW is one of those movies that struck lightning in a bottle, I can't explain it, but it is like E.T., Titanic, The Godfather, where the success lived up to the hype. That is why everytime it gets re-released in the movies it crushes the sequels, because you and I and most on this website went to see all 3 SE movies in 1997, but the mainstream audience went to the SW and thats it.
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i agree with you, but still i hate seeing the prequels and the ot put in the same category
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I think that by "mainstream" is that it is just popular right now, now that the PT is over and done with. When the PT came out a lot of closet case Star Wars fans came forward and said that they loved Star Wars and were going to check out the newest films.

Now that the hype is over, I'm guessing that it will retreat a bit and with a little luck, the PT will fade away and the OT will be remembered most.
"I am altering the movies. Pray I don't alter them any further." -Darth Lucas
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Originally posted by: Invader Jenny
I think that by "mainstream" is that it is just popular right now, now that the PT is over and done with. When the PT came out a lot of closet case Star Wars fans came forward and said that they loved Star Wars and were going to check out the newest films.

Now that the hype is over, I'm guessing that it will retreat a bit and with a little luck, the PT will fade away and the OT will be remembered most.


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The one thing I notice alot is people refer to the prequels as the Star Wars trilogy with Jar Jar in it, and to me, that can't be any good if they think of those movies like that. The one thing I am glad that the prequels were made is, they have made the OT even more superior than it was in the 80's. Now fans who don't like SW, atleast recognize the great trilogy and the bad trilogy. So again, the saga may be tied together by the PT gushers, but the mainstream will always look at it as two trilogies, and the PT is always the punch line.
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Once a geek, always a geek!
Last year my best friend started yelling at people in the theatre for ROTS midnight showing. He was pissed cause he feels there's all these band wagon fans, and people used to tease him in high school about liking Star Wars. I just kept sinking further and further down into my seat saying, "Shut up, shut up, shut up." I never cared in school if people didn't like Star Wars. I thought, "Well, they're missing out, I don't feel bad for them. "
The originals were way more relevant during their time, than the prequels have been these past few years. Actual number of tickets sold is a huge undeniable indicator.
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Originally posted by: skye_solo
Once a geek, always a geek!
Last year my best friend started yelling at people in the theatre for ROTS midnight showing. He was pissed cause he feels there's all these band wagon fans, and people used to tease him in high school about liking Star Wars. I just kept sinking further and further down into my seat saying, "Shut up, shut up, shut up." I never cared in school if people didn't like Star Wars. I thought, "Well, they're missing out, I don't feel bad for them. "
The originals were way more relevant during their time, than the prequels have been these past few years. Actual number of tickets sold is a huge undeniable indicator.


I would have done that too had I thought about it at the time. Making people uncomfortable is fun... especially college students in Mississippi in Greek organizations!

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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i agree with you, but still i hate seeing the prequels and the ot put in the same category
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It totally irks me that not only is Star Wars mainstream, but it is marketed and made for the lowest demoniation. In other words, served up for mass consumption like Big Macs. Sure the crap makes a lot of money, but like Shakespeare says, it is full of sound and fury signifying nothing. When Star Wars came out in 1977, there was no wait for video mentality. You had to see it again, you saw it in the theater. And you often saw the same people at the theaters time and again. But in the era of the mega blockbuster where midnight shows are a regularity, Star Wars, especially the Prequels are now just big bloated movies. The numbers fall off as soon as the next big movie comes along.

I too was there at the midnight show of ROTS with my club and we dressed up had fun, but the majority of the fans were Poser fans, just along for the ride, slumming it with the geeks. As soon as the credits started rolling, half the theater empties. Over the weekend the audience was even more indifferent, because we were doing some promotions and giveaways with the the theater, many were uninterested in the prizes, or the giveaways. When we tried to pump up the crowd, the best we got was a lukewarm reception. And this was the Saturday after opening night.

I run into fans all the time, the "Star Wars - Rocks" fans who were not there from the beginninbg, grew up with it and loved it like we do. Poser fans, jumping on a bandwagon who will blindly scarf up the next value meal that Lucas has to offer without a complaint.

In contrast, Serenity which did absolutle nowhere near the business of ROTS, had a wild enthusiastic crowd in the midnight show. And I don't remember ever seeing an entire auditorium sit through the ending credits of any movie. But I don't think a single person got up until the lihghts came on.
There's good in the Original Trilogy, and it's worth fighting for.
"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
http://www.myspace.com/harlock415
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Originally posted by: Harlock415
I too was there at the midnight show of ROTS with my club and we dressed up had fun, but the majority of the fans were Poser fans, just along for the ride, slumming it with the geeks. As soon as the credits started rolling, half the theater empties.


You've got to be kidding, this really happened? They emptied the place? Why? ROTS was not that bad...
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering
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It emptied out like any other movie. A few of us stuck around, but by the time the lights came up, there were only a handfull of us left.

Like I said before, the midnight show of Serenity had more dedicated fans I think, mainly because it still had a cult staus to it and if you were gonna see Serenity at midnigth, you were definitely a true fan.
There's good in the Original Trilogy, and it's worth fighting for.
"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
http://www.myspace.com/harlock415