Economist Crunches Numbers, Makes Box Office Condemn “The Last Jedi”

This post by Captain Capitalism falls under the category of Interesting, With Caveat.

In essence, he calculates Box Office As a Percentage of GDP, to evaluate the relative success of the Star Wars Movies in 1977 vs. today.

Naturally, A New Hope tops the list, bringing in .035% of the US GDP.

Solo does the worst, at .0019% GDP.

The blogger/economist thus observes that “Kathleen Kennedy wiped out 95% of the Star Wars franchise value”.  He then twerks the numbers a bit more, and gives us a more conservative, mere 75%.

Which, as I said, is interesting, and certainly grist for the mill of those who want to make Kathleen Kennedy the Palpatine of Lucasfilm.

But.

We cannot know, at this point, if Solo was an outlier or not. The narrative – that fans boycotted Solo in protest of The Last Jedi, is commonplace, and indeed was argued on this very blog. But we can’t call it a trend yet. Solo had things wearing it down in addition to the reaction to Last Jedi, such as the fact that no one wanted it in the first place. If Episode IX returns to the mean, then that means: a) Solo tanking had nothing to do with any boycott, b) said boycott has run its course, or c) the fan base is gaining new members to replace the old ones. And any of those will mean that the conclusion – that Kathleen Kennedy destroyed Star Wars – will be inoperative.

Also, the data suggests that, Solo notwithstanding, The Disney films are doing about as well as the Prequels. Force Awakens more or less ties Phantom Menace at .011% GDP, while Rogue One and The Last Jedi do about the same as Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Now, it is absolutely damning with faint praise to defend the Disney SW films by saying “they’re doing as well as the Prequels”. But if that’s true, then as I’ve been saying, the real damage was done to the franchise 20 years ago, and Kathleen Kennedy is merely the golem operating under George Lucas’ ghostly hand.

If Episode IX does fail, then Kennedy will certain deserve opprobrium for taking a profitable if damaged franchise and driving a stake through its heart. But if it doesn’t, then we must all revise our narratives.

 

Anyone Who Refers to Themselves as Representing a “Community” is an Ass

Is that a Hasty Generalization or a Sweeping one? I lack the data to tell. I also don’t care that it’s illogical.

It’s how I feel, therefore it’s true.

What am I talking about?

This.

Long story, short, an author allowed internet bullies who spoke for the “community” to shame her into not publishing her book. The book in question had yet to be published. Doesn’t matter. It has been seized on, it has been denounced, it has been made to un-exist.

This is how we live now.

But but but, don’t I realize how damaging such a book could be, because it reifies this or doesn’t show proper respect to that? Don’t I realize how this book is Hitler? FOR SHAME.

I don’t care.

I also don’t care if you have claimed, at some point in your life, to speak for a “Community”, and you don’t think that you’re an ass, and you’re offended and you hate me now.

Good.

I’m glad you’re offended.

I’m glad I wrote something that pissed you off.

Welcome to the party, pal.

Because the long slow march of shrieking cretins who have debased every part of our culture has been pissing me off for a while. I haven’t said much about it, because what’s the point? Anyone who genuinely thinks that a fantasy novel which has as a hook the enslavement of magic-users is a thought-crime deserving of rage, anyone who applauds the destruction of art for the sake of their politics, is beyond persuasion. As Joseph Mills put it, a mob has reasons that reason knows nothing of.

But the flip side of that is, it genuinely does not matter if you try to meet them halfway, or if you flip them the bird. It is not possible to avoid being offensive any longer. No matter what you do, you’re going to piss off someone.

So I’m going to.

“Community” is a word used by bullies to give their unexamined premises and tendentious conclusions the false authority of societal need. It is a word utterly ruined, which sickens my heart whenever banally uttered by a smug imbecile. It is verbal diarrhea.

It’s also a pretty funny if preciously self-aware sit-com from the last decade. I still like it, but I don’t watch it much anymore. It’s gone now, and Archer is funnier, anyway.

I speak these words as an aspiring author myself, and I speak them as one who just realized that, if The Sword gets published, I’m going to make people angry.

I can’t predict why, exactly. But I can predict I will.

Because this is the world we live in now.

So I promise this: if no agent or publishing house wants it, I’m going to set up a crowd-funded launch. If someone persuades Indiegogo or whatever site I use to shut me down, I’ll find another one. If I get nowhere that way, I’ll put together the scratch for as big a self-pub launch as I can manage. If the trolls go after me on Amazon, I’ll find another way. I’ll mimeograph the damn thing and pass copies around like samizdata (is that an inapt use of that word? I don’t care).

I will not be stopped.

Because you are evil, and you deserve to have the thing that offends you shoved in your face.

I hope I make you cry.

(Hat Tip to Larry Correia, who, if you think I’m obnoxious, is an order of magnitude rantier and more offensive.)

Variety Buries the Lede About Disney’s Film Division

 

Walt Disney Studios had a much more magical earnings report than analysts had expected. The entertainment powerhouse behind Pixar, Marvel, and the world’s most trafficked theme parks logged earnings per share of $1.84, a 3% drop from $1.89 in the prior-year quarter. Disney also reported revenue of $15.3 billion, essentially flat with the year-ago period.…

The article is called No Star Wars, No Problem, and it’s true that Disney had a good quarter. But why?

The better-than-anticipated financial picture is attributable to higher broadcast revenues and the increased popularity of its parks, bright spots that off-set declines in Disney’s film division. The company faced difficult comparisons because it did not field any “Star Wars” sequel or spinoff during the holidays for the first time in four years. The lack of a “Star Wars” film also took a bite out of licensing profits.

Doesn’t that seem to suggest the opposite of the headline? The fact that other divisions of the company are covering for a loss does not mean that the loss is not there. How bad is the loss?

Disney’s film unit released the hits “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” during the final three months of 2018, as well as the box office bomb “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” Film revenues for the quarter decreased 27% to $1.8 billion and segment operating income decreased 63% to $309 million.

That seems bad. And note something here. Of the three films released, two were sequels to existing properties (one a sequel to a film fifty years old). Those were the hits. The bomb was a re-imagining of “The Nutcracker” that no one wanted and was critically panned.

You know what didn’t get released?

Anything new.

Now for a year of live-action remakes of earlier films, more sequels, and comic book movies?

The Renaissance is over.

And Now For Some Mindlessly Speculative Guff About Star Wars Episode 9

Get obsessed over product, swine!

tenor

Actually, this article at Digital Spy  hews very close to verifiable fact, and leaves the theoretical where it belongs.

A few pertinent facts:

  • Mark Hamill will be back.
  • Previously shot footage of Carrie Fisher will be used, rather than CGI.
  • We’ll also see Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
  • Most of the cast of The Last Jedi will be back, including Benicio Del Toro, Kelly Marie Tran, and Laura Dern.

These are interesting, but by no means surprising, nor as relevatory as we might want. Back in May, I made some predictions about Episode IX, one of which has been basically confirmed (the return of Hamill/Luke), and one of which has been made more likely (The Finn/Rose or “Frose” romance, as both are predictably back), and one of which has become rather unlikely (The Kylo/Rey or “Reylo” Romance, as Disney is adamant that the Skywalker Saga is ending here).

But these things are not known. Luke fading into the Force at the end of Last Jedi probably means his return will be as a blue-outlined ghost a la Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda, but Abrams might hard-cut away from Rian Johnson and slap together some internal logic of Force Rebirth that would give us real, actual Luke. Do I think that will happen? No. Do I discount it? Also no.

Same with Frose. Maybe they have these characters in LUV, or maybe Rose gets killed in the first act, and Finn is Sad about it. Or maybe both.

As for the End of Skywalker, let me shove my glasses back up my nose and point out that a child of Kylo Ren would not be surnamed Skywalker, but Solo. And Disney ain’t said nothing about that. Just sayin’…

But again, these are all useless, deeply hedged, speculations. Until we see a trailer, we have no idea what will happen, and we really won’t then, either. So keep your lightsaber crystals dry.

Podcasting is Going to Be a Thing.

As the post below shows, I put a new episode of my long-dormant podcast up. I did so for two reasons:

  1. I Have Things To Say Beyond The Scope of This Blog. Recent event have made me toy with having things to say on the subject of politics, but I don’t want to turn this into a politics blog. That was exhausting and felt futile. The world doesn’t need another politics blog, and I don’t want to write one. But if I start writing on that topic, I’m not going to be able to stop. I’ve done all this before. A podcast, particularly Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up, has an open format that I can weigh in when I want to, without feeling obligated to.
  2. I Can Do It Regularly. This recent episode took me very little time to get up and running. I decided to do it, did it, and uploaded it in the space of an afternoon. With a modicum of prep-work, the quality of each episode will improve without costing me too much time.

I’m not gonna set a rigid schedule for it yet, but I want to stay current, and inertia is the enemy of work. So watch this space.