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December 28, 2017

Is The Last Jedi Underperforming? Is There a Backlash Against It?

I've been seeing a lot of fan backlash on YouTube. It turns out that while The Last Jedi is making what is indisputably a lot of money compared to any other movie, it's underpeforming compared to the most direct analogue -- the first Star Wars reboot movie, The Force Awakens.

That reviewer (who's pretty good, I think) says something that occurred to me: Is The Last Jedi Disney's own Justice League? Does Disney have a DCEU problem brewing?

Also note that she gets one day's box office wrong. For Christmas, she says The Last Jedi made $32 million; in fact, it made $27.5 million. Making it a bit worse of a performer compared to the first entry. This guy pointed that out.

She probably was working with some kind of early-release estimate, which then got reduced when all theaters reported the real numbers.

In the first week of release, The Last Jedi dropped 77% in ticket sales, the worst ever performance for any Star Wars film. It hasn't really recovered or found fresh legs since.

You can compare The Last Jedi's daily box office figures to The Force Awaken's take. On all days, TLJ does much less box office than TFA; it's currently taken about $200 million less than the TFA did by this point. Through 14 days, TFA made $640 million; through 14 days, The Last Jedi has made $445 million.

Obviously, $445 million is a good haul, but the trend is not Disney's friend.

Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad also made a fair amount of money (while disappointing fans); the real problem showed up for Justice League, when people had stopped giving Warner Bros./DC slack, stopped giving them "one more chance," and just decided to sit that one out.

So what's going on? Well, in addition to Star Wars Fatigue -- people realizing in retrospect what I said at the time, that The Force Awakens was a weak rehash and demonstrated that really only six things can happen in the supposedly huge canvas of the Star Wars universe. They've similarly turned on Rogue One shortly after its release, and now seem to be turning on The Last Jedi at an even more expedited pace.

These movies aren't special when they come out at this pace; as I think the reviewer Beyond the Trailer said, they're not events, they're more like obligations.

Another problem is that popular geek review sites are annoyed at the film's heavy-handed SJW #MuhPatriarchy/#MuhRepresentation tendencies.

Caution: those links contain lots of spoilers, and a fair amount of cursing. Also, they're by black guys, which I should warn you about, because of course we're all #Racist.

BTW, people really seem pissed off about The Last Jedi's treatment of Luke Skywalker. Among those pissed off about TLJ's treatment of Luke Skywalker? Mark Hammill, apparently, who was grouchy, gruff, and a bit too honest in interviews about the film (noting that it doesn't matter if the movie is good, just if it makes money).

That's another weird Star Wars/DCEU similarity -- Ben Affleck was also miserable and depressed on his obligatory promotion tour for Batman v. Superman.


Even Grace Randolf (Beyond the Trailer), who seems generally high on TLJ's feminist impulses, and was one of the critics annoyed by Justice League's alleged oversexualization of Wonder Woman and the Amazons (I wouldn't know, I haven't seen it), recognizes that Kathleen Kennedy is driving this messaging a bit too hard, and thinks the backlash is real.

She makes an interesting point: The DCEU became clownified, and that led to it becoming lucrative for clickbait sites to put up clickbait links clowning on the DCEU.

This might be happening to Star Wars now, though of course the SJWs of the media will join Disney in fighting this possibility.


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posted by Ace at 05:43 PM

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