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Star Studded Star Wars


17 replies to this topic

#1
The Choc

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I was reading a story about Donnie Yen talking about why Star Wars is failing in China. There were a few different points but I think one of the main points was that people in China didn't grow up on Star Wars and there really aren't that many huge movie stars in Star Wars. Now we all know Solo failed and was never going to be a huge hit, but the reasons it was such a disaster was that it was over budgeted and that it just didnt do well overseas. Especially in China. Solo made 16 mil in China. The latest Thor made 112 mil. Almost 100 mil more. I guess Ant Man hasn;t opened there yet, but the fact is Solo is going to have made more in North America. Ant Man will make much more overall.

 

Obviously when a Star Wars movie "hits" it can more than survive without China or certain other foreign markets. Thing is though that the ability to play small ball, make movies with a somewhat smaller budget, not be the biggest hit ever and still make money is going to depend on these foreign markets. Especially China. 

 

Now how can they fix this? I guess the long term way would be to just keep making movies, hopefully they slowly catch on. That's not the best way though. Why not make a Star Wars movie with huge stars? The old school "All Star Cast". Now certainly you'd have to do it somewhat within reason for budget reasons, but maybe to make a Star Wars movie like that you could get some actors to take somewhat less money. Maybe you get two or three big stars to anchor it and then you can get a few other bigger stars to play smaller parts that would amount to little more than cameos.

 

As a far this isn't exactly what I'd want but at the same time it could be fun too. Alot of movie stars are Star Wars fans, so maybe you could get some to do it for less money, as I said earlier. The key though is this could be how they break through into certain markets where the name value of actors holds more marquee value than the Star Wars name. Then the hope would be that what gets Star Wars going in these markets for future movies.

 

Fact is Solo failed, but if the movie had a more reasonable budget and if it had done even mediocre business in China, say 75 mil rather than 16. You could be talking about instead of a 250 mil budget with a 390 mil box office you could be talking say 175 mil budget and a 450 mil box office. Which although extremely light for Star Wars isn't a huge disaster from a financial standpoint.

 

What's everyone think? Would this be a good idea for Star Wars. Would you want to see it? Furthermore would it be a smart way to try to break down the door in some of the markets where Star Wars just doesn't have the marquee value we associate with it?



#2
RamonAtila

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If Star Wars is failing in China, I say it's because the technology is outdated. You're delivering them a sci fi concept from the 70s

#3
Tex

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Sadly the first exposure to Star Wars for people in China was Hayden Slapdick complaining about sand. The whole Darth Vader thing just doesn’t exist over there. They were going through some political **** when SW was actually cool, so all they know about SW involves pod races and Jar Jar.

#4
RamonAtila

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I'm sure China ****ing loves pod races, who doesnt

#5
Iceheart

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If Star Wars absolutely has to change it's format to make it in China, I'd rather see Chinese actors cast that have tons of celebrity in China, but not a lot here.

 

Because I think a lot of the charm of Star Wars is that it turns unknowns and up-and-comers into global household names. I wouldn't want to see someone like Tom Cruise in a forthcoming Star Wars movie - he's so famous on his own that I can't think of him as anything other than Tom Cruise. That would take me out of the fantasy.

 

So, this sounds like cultural differences to me (unless people have been clamoring for all-star SW for decades and I somehow missed it). If China needs to have name recognition to sell tickets, give them people they'll recognize. But do it so it respects what the franchise is, not just as a money grab.


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#6
Odine

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Nah, celebrities in Star Wars = bad move. Woody Harrelson is about as big name as you could get without it being totally distracting.

Star Wars probably doesn't work in China because the things they like aesthetically are totally different to western cinema. Changing your aesthetic to suit a market is a recipe for disaster. Star Wars just needs to Star Wars more and not worry about meeting the demands of others
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#7
DANA-kin Skywalker

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I think you're asking all the wrong questions. You're essentially asking how can they make a certain market like a certain product. You should be asking how can we make a product that a certain market likes.

Stuffing a few well known Asian actors in a movie that the Asian market doesn't do well in may help a little bit, but it won't turn water into wine.

Make a product for who your market is, not who you want them to be. That's what works in a free-market system. Doing otherwise runs the risk of either losing money or, worse, betraying your loyal fan base.

#8
The Choc

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I don't see how writing a movie and then casting well known actors in a few of the larger parts is betraying a fan base. Really my point is to not betray the fan base. I'm not saying make a movie just for China, that would be dumb. None of these western movies is gonna make money over there like Wolf Warrior 2 or something. But if Im Disney I'm saying "how can we get a certain segment into these movies." Infinity War made 360 mil in China. The last Jedi made 42 mil there. The difference in China is half the difference in their world wide gross. If you don't think Disney is trying to figure out ways to make Star Wars more popular there, you are nuts. 

 

And they obviously won't make one that is completely geared to Asian markets cause the bread and butter is in North America. If you make a movie and cast some larger stars, set it far away chronologically from the existing movies and make it in a way that doesn't assume viewers have seen Star Wars before then maybe they can. 

 

The difference between Infinity War and Last Jedi in North America is gonna be like 60 million bucks. Certainly nothing to sneeze at but at the same time not indicative that one movie is generally more popular than the other. The difference in China is over 300 million, 5 times the North American difference. That money all counts the same to Disney. 

 

They are 100% trying to figure out a way to market Star Wars to China in a way that doesn't upset it in the USA. 

 

Personally a Star Wars with alot of big actors isn't what I'd ever want the norm to be for Star Wars, but one movie like that? It could be fun. 



#9
The Choc

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Nah, celebrities in Star Wars = bad move. Woody Harrelson is about as big name as you could get without it being totally distracting.

Star Wars probably doesn't work in China because the things they like aesthetically are totally different to western cinema. Changing your aesthetic to suit a market is a recipe for disaster. Star Wars just needs to Star Wars more and not worry about meeting the demands of others

Infinity War made 300 mil there. Fast 8 made 392 mil there which is 170 mil more than it made in North America. They are open to Western movies. 



#10
Odine

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Well it could be they just don't care about Star Wars. Maybe TLJ got crap reviews there.

#11
Fozzie

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I think that we should also consider that maybe Star Wars is hugely important in the West, but objectively really isn't that good.
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#12
Iceheart

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Out of the entire, vast, so ridiculously vast they couldn't even give every character screen time, cast of Infinity War, Robert Downey, Jr, Scarlett Johansson, and Benedict Cumberbatch were the only actors in the main cast who came to the MCU with widespread name recognition. With the exception of a few existing luminaries in the supporting cast, the MCU absolutely made everyone else's careers, or at least cemented them in the public eye.

 

As for Fast8, it's packed with known names... if you follow action movies. The Rock and Charlize Theron are probably the most recognizable faces in that movie, especially if you don't have a lot of experience with the previous 7 films or the action genre in general.

 

Granted, the MCU has some 8 years on Nu Star Wars and F&F has 15, but having a traditionally star-studded cast was not why they did well in China, because neither series was front-loaded with star power.

 

I think Fozzie might have his finger on the pulse, here.



#13
Darth Wicket

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I would like to see Christopher Walken as Han Solo.

#14
DANA-kin Skywalker

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I think that we should also consider that maybe Star Wars is hugely important in the West, but objectively really isn't that good.

Objectively good film isn't the easiest thing to define.

China doesn't care about Star Wars like we do in the West. If the point of this discussion is to ask why, then I'd say Tex gave a solid answer, but outside that, I'd ask why ask why? They don't care about it, and that's that. Executives at Lucasfilms determine their own marketing budget and decide themselves whether or not they are doing the best they could be.

If the point of the discussion is how can Disney craft Star Wars into something that's more successful there, I've already said they shouldn't, and it wasn't obvious to me Choc that you didnt already agree that would be bad idea because you had proposed a "star studded casting" approach in an effort to "fix the problem". You're being intellectually inconsistent. I disagree it's a problem, and I think it's a mistake to change the winning formula. I will repeat that maybe casting a well known Chinese actor (and less known by westerners) may help a little, but it's not going to radically change the way the market feels about this well established franchise. I think Disney would be wise to adopt an "optimistically hopeful" approach to China, but not expect them to fall in love with it at some point. That's a pretty arrogant expectation.

#15
The Choc

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I;m not expecting them to put a couple stars in the movie and for a Star Wars movie to gross 500 mil in China. 

 

I guess what I'm saying is Star Wars needs a point of entry or a call to action to get the ball rolling there. I think another issue is that all the movies suppose the viewer has watched the other movies. In TFA the very first thing we see is "Luke Skywalker has vanished" which is a pretty good hook if you care who Luke Skywalker is. If you dont, not so much. Early in the movie Kylo stops a lazer bolt. We all know why he is able to, someone in China may not. They'd just be confused. You can't tell a 15 year old Chinese kid "you need to watch movies that came out 1/4 century before you were born to understand whats going on." They are gonna say screw that. Just like if in 1992 someone told me I had to watch a movie from the early 50s to understand a movie, I don't think I'd make the effort.

 

All I'm saying is this: Make a Star Wars movie that is

 

1-Set far away from any existing movies in terms of time.

 

2-Is completely self contained in that it can stand on it's own as a complete story without anything before or after.

 

3-Doesn't suppose the viewer has seen any existing Star Wars movie, meaning basically give an explanation of the Force like Ben does in Star Wars

 

4-Cast a few bigger name guys to play some of the leads

 

 

I don't think anything Im saying is some sort of radical departure or anything. I don't think they don't "honor" the existing movies. Anyway they are movies, not people, so they don't know if they are being honored anyway. Plus these movies have been honored plenty anyway.

 

And yeah, it's not a problem for me or you that Star Wars doesnt make money in China. Maybe that's not the right word, maybe I should have said "how can Disney take advantage of the opportunity to make more money in China."



#16
El Chalupacabra

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I would like to see Christopher Walken Robin as Han Solo Obi Wan.

 

Fixed


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#17
Odine

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Does Disney even need the Chinese market??

It's not like they're a struggling company.

If you make a SW series using big name "star" actors you're quite possibly going to alienate your already existing market.

Now what Choc said about it being unreasonable to expect some Chinese kid to watch movies from 1/4 century ago to understand the plot of the current films, well thats entirely right. Why should someone who hasn't been bought up with something be expected to go back and watch it all to have context to what is happening now?? It ain't gonna happen. So a completely self-contained Saga not involving the Skywalkers would be a great start and a way to re-brand for a new market anywhere. But you can do that without having to pull in big name celebrities to sell your product (which could potentially alienate people like myself...and probably ten's of thousands more people), if the story is good enough.

Edited by Odine, 09 August 2018 - 02:21 AM.


#18
Poe Dameron

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I think that we should also consider that maybe Star Wars is hugely important in the West, but objectively really isn't that good.

While I'm open to the idea that it might be a cause, I don't think the Chinese market is a particularly good test for film quality.  Here's a look at the top western films ever over there:

 

1.  The Fate of the Furious
2.  Furious 7
3.  Avengers: Infinity War
4.  Transformers: Age of Extinction
5.  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
6.  Transformers: The Last Knight
7.  Zootopia
8.  Warcraft
9.  Avengers: Age of Ultron
10.  Jurassic World
11.  Ready Player One
12.  Avatar
13.  Captain America: Civil War
14.  Coco
15.  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
16.  The Great Wall
17.  Kong: Skull Island
18.  xXx: Return of Xander Cage
19.  Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
20.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon
21.  Despicable Me 3

 

Yeah, that's not a strong list.





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