I think there’s something to also be said for the consistent fracturing of attention spans through unprecedented media access and entertainment options just automatically diluting potential audience excitement. There’s a reason adjusting for inflation is practically useless, and that reason only gets ever more solidified with every year we move forward. The competition for moviegoing dollars only ever gets more heated. In the 80s it was the rental market. In the 90s it was Cable. In the 00s it was the internet. And now, on the verge of heading into the 2020s, we’re literally in a space where people with a gopro and a green-screen are getting better “ratings” than network television on their own DIY YouTube channels or Twitch streams. The fact there’s an entire multi-billion dollar internet-only platform whose primary dedication is to watching other people play video games, where you can spend money you might otherwise be spending on a movie ticket for access to custom emojis that you can spam in the chat-window next to the live-stream of someone struggling through Fortnite?
We live in a very weird time with a glut of entertainment options, many of which (including most social media, which has ceased being a supplement to life, but is supplanting the actual living of it) cast YOU as the star. Movies are making more money than ever before, but they almost have to, because if they don’t, the whole industry will collapse and become part of at least 2 or 3 other industries as not much more than a bonus-feature to their primary appeal.
If, in that scenario, Star Wars isn’t as earth-shatteringly exciting and alluring to audiences, I wouldn’t be (and am not) surprised. It’s not the 80s, or even the 90s. And honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
I think the last chapter of the Skywalker Saga is going to make a ton of money (more domestic than abroad, but still) and then we’ll see as the entire market shifts and tilts in new directions to adjust for the fracturing and splintering of attention spans even further. And if Star Wars becomes a secondary (or even tertiary) concern at the box-office from that point forward, I’m pretty fine with it. Being a Star Wars fan has always sorta/kinda been like rooting for the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees anyway, to be honest. It’s what’s made people act like they’re special for being a Star Wars fan seem weird, to me. “Oh, congrats, you’re a super-big fan of like, the most popular things ever made for theaters. How unique.” If people are somehow made to focus less on all the CULTURAL IMPORTANCE and BOX OFFICE SIGNIFICANCE and THE POWER OF MYTH and instead have to simply reckon with the movies AS movies, without hanging a bunch of historical weight on everything Star Wars-related… that’s not really a bad thing, I don’t think.
Anyway, I’m revising my domestic total up to $735 mil.