By Roger Currie
Can it really be 37 years since we first heard those famous notes written by John Williams? Somehow, there’s another sound that is much more relevant to any discussion of the Star Wars phenom.
As the money rolls in for the 7th movie, “The Force Awakens,” the numbers are truly staggering. Combined box office revenue for the first six was $4.38 billion and still growing as new generations catch up to what they’ve missed.
The new movie will most likely set a new record with ticket sales in the billions, but that’s only a relatively small part of the story. The Guinness Book of World Records puts Star Wars at the top of the list when it comes to movie merchandising. When you add that to the box office, the total value is more like $30 billion. George Lucas started it all, and in 2012 he sold the farm to Disney for just over $4 billion. The company that Walt started invented movie merchandising, going back to Mickey Mouse ears and Davy Crockett hats.
Another most interesting sidebar, “The Force Awakens” was directed by J.J. Abrams, and he shot the picture on 65 mm film. He also plans to do that with the next two episodes, and Abrams has persuaded other filmmakers to go back to celluloid. The result has been the financial rescue of the Kodak company which all but disappeared when digital took over from film in recent years.
My 11-year-old grandson is trying to persuade me to buy the new R2D2 robot. He swears it has the capability of serving me drinks in my easy chair.
Merry Christmas, everyone. May the force be with you until we meet again.
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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.