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Bloomberg: Star Wars is Struggling to Win Over the Next Generation of Kids

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
Typing posts like this pretty much equate to saying "I have no interest in pop culture". Which...I mean, that's your right. But then why are you here anyway?



Those aren't really brands in the same way Star Wars or the MCU is though. They're all more traditional films that don't have "universes". E.T. is just a single film, and the other films are based mostly around the casts that you had: Back to the Future is a vehicle for Michael J. Fox, Indiana Jones a vehicle for Harrison Ford. Of the ones you mentioned, I wouldn't even think to revive them except Ghostbusters, which is a concept that can support a "universe" (though really should just be a trilogy).
Well I mean if Star Wars is basically only one of two "mega brands" ... really what's the problem here? It's in a pretty exclusive club by that metric, just because MCU is having their peak moment doesn't mean Star Wars is necessarily doing anything wrong.
 

Van Bur3n

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
13,959
Interesting how the trilogy that doesn't have General Grievous is less successful in this area. Very interesting. Who could have saw this coming.
 

Smelck

Member
Oct 27, 2017
665
Rotorua, NZ
I am sure there will be an avatar bet thread when the full trailer is out in October. If there isn't a full on thread then sure but otherwise I rather wait for the whatever is cooking once the full trailer is released as we tend to do here.
Ok...like your confidence. My money is on the downward trend or less than TLJ (dom and ww)....pending JJ doing the imo impossible ..
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
I literally just made this thread...

And the very first ship mentioned was the Naboo Starfighter.
In a run down of late 90s/early 2000s filmmaking, the Naboo star fighter is not some iconic design. It's something a niche group of Star Wars fans may really go ga-ga over but it's nothing like the iconic designs of the X-Wing or something that are a staple of that era of filmmaking.

When people think of late 90s, really The Matrix is the more influential/iconic sci-fi film from a design POV, the look of that film was aped/copied by about a dozen other movies.
 

Deleted member 57378

User requested account closure
Banned
Jun 2, 2019
360
I WAS a huge star wars fan and was so hyped for the new trilogy. But the marketing push was so god damn in your face that it pushed me away. About a month before TFA released my mind just didnt care anymore and i havent consumed star wars media of any kind since then. I didnt even go see TFA. Im just... Done with it. But thats just me and i dont care if others lovebor hate it. Its really weird, ive never had that happen in my life before when a switch is just flipped on something i was (admittedly) way too into.
 

plagiarize

To its ports I have been
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,443
Cape Cod, MA
It's tone that's the difference though. Fairy tales can have things in that you look at after the fact and go "hey that's pretty fucked up". Like Captain Hook is a grown ass man who murders kids and is trying to kill Peter Pan.

But the one is whimsical and light so it's acceptable and the tone is very clearly established.

But Star Wars was always fairly serious. It's why the shoe-horning in of the Ewoks felt kind of out of place because tonally it doesn't really fit that great with the previous two films.

Lucas' intentions and the finished product were often at odds, at some point I think a creative work just takes on its own life.
Star Wars is based on kids TV serials. That doesn't devalue it in any way shape or form, but I see no reason to pretend otherwise. Star Wars has a 'gee whiz' tone. Empire is tonally darker than the original. But is Star Wars notably darker than Dark Crystal, or Goonies, or Return to Oz, or The Black Cauldron, or hell The NeverEnding Story?

Lucas said it was for young people in interviews back in 1977, literally saying it was closer to a Brother's Grimm fairy tale than it was 2001 A Space Odyssey.

But then most don't realize how dark and complex the Brother's Grimm work was either, thinking that the sanitized Disney versions represent the fairy tales of old. Heck, that said, most forget how dark those early Disney movies like Dumbo and Pinocchio are.
 

sphagnum

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,717
Star Wars is about the innocene/naivette of teenage-dom (not childhood and there's a big difference) meeting the harsh reality of adulthood. That's really the story in a nutshell. E.T. is a kids movie, but Star Wars never was.
"Nobody except Disney makes movies for young people anymore," he said. "I want to open up the whole realm of space for them. Science fiction is okay, but it got so involved with science that it forgot the sense of adventure. I want 'Star Wars' to make them think of the things that could happen. I'd like them to say, 'Gee! Wouldn't it be great if we could go and run around on Mars?' Kids today seem to be having a very boring childhood.

...

"The reason I'm making 'Star Wars' is that I want to give young people some sort of faraway exotic environment for their imaginations to run around in. I have a strong feeling about interesting kids in space exploration. I want them to want it. I want them to get beyond the basic stupidities of the moment and think about colonizing Venus and Mars. And the only way it's going to happen is to have some dumb kid fantasize about it--to get his ray gun, jump in his ship and run off with this wooky into outer space. It's our only hope in a way."

 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
Star Wars is based on kids TV serials. That doesn't devalue it in any way shape or form, but I see no reason to pretend otherwise. Star Wars has a 'gee whiz' tone. Empire is tonally darker than the original. But is Star Wars notably darker than Dark Crystal, or Goonies, or Return to Oz, or The Black Cauldron, or hell The NeverEnding Story?

Lucas said it was for young people in interviews back in 1977, literally saying it was closer to a Brother's Grimm fairy tale than it was 2001 A Space Odyssey.

But then most don't realize how dark and complex the Brother's Grimm work was either, thinking that the sanitized Disney versions represent the fairy tales of old. Heck, most forget how dark those early Disney movies like Dumbo and Pinocchio are.
That's where Lucas' inspiration may have started from but tonally I don't think it's where it ended up.

Tonally there is a huge difference between like Empire Strikes Back and a Disney film. Even when I was little kid I immediately could delineate in tone between Star Wars movies and the regular "kids stuff" that I liked to watch.

I mean even so much as The Goonies versus Indiana Jones ... they may be inspired by similar influences, but they are also very, very different in tone.
 

SageShinigami

Member
Oct 27, 2017
16,046
Well I mean if Star Wars is basically only one of two "mega brands" ... really what's the problem here? It's in a pretty exclusive club by that metric, just because MCU is having their peak moment doesn't mean Star Wars is necessarily doing anything wrong.
I wouldn't necessarily argue they are doing anything wrong. Their failures are movies that "only" made $400m. I think this article is only arguing that kids don't care about it as much as the MCU.

If anything, Star Wars' biggest misstep is they aren't doing enough with their universe. They want to use the brand but they're still hiding behind the characters from the 70s and 80s. Break away from the Skywalkers and tell stories about the distant past or the far future.


"Nobody except Disney makes movies for young people anymore," he said. "I want to open up the whole realm of space for them. Science fiction is okay, but it got so involved with science that it forgot the sense of adventure. I want 'Star Wars' to make them think of the things that could happen. I'd like them to say, 'Gee! Wouldn't it be great if we could go and run around on Mars?' Kids today seem to be having a very boring childhood.
By this metric, it's no surprise the MCU beats out Star Wars. The sense of adventure is much more present there than in what we have with Star Wars, at least from my viewpoint.
 

plagiarize

To its ports I have been
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,443
Cape Cod, MA
That's where Lucas' inspiration may have started from but tonally I don't think it's where it ended up.

Tonally there is a huge difference between like Empire Strikes Back and a Disney film. Even when I was little kid I immediately could delineate in tone between Star Wars movies and the regular "kids stuff" that I liked to watch.

I mean even so much as The Goonies versus Indiana Jones ... they may be inspired by similar influences, but they are also very, very different in tone.
Go watch Return to Oz and get back to me.

Star Wars in no small part was aimed at children.

Are you telling me with a straight face that it missed its target and children didn't love it?
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
"Nobody except Disney makes movies for young people anymore," he said. "I want to open up the whole realm of space for them. Science fiction is okay, but it got so involved with science that it forgot the sense of adventure. I want 'Star Wars' to make them think of the things that could happen. I'd like them to say, 'Gee! Wouldn't it be great if we could go and run around on Mars?' Kids today seem to be having a very boring childhood.

...

"The reason I'm making 'Star Wars' is that I want to give young people some sort of faraway exotic environment for their imaginations to run around in. I have a strong feeling about interesting kids in space exploration. I want them to want it. I want them to get beyond the basic stupidities of the moment and think about colonizing Venus and Mars. And the only way it's going to happen is to have some dumb kid fantasize about it--to get his ray gun, jump in his ship and run off with this wooky into outer space. It's our only hope in a way."

I don't really take everything George says as gospel, for one he goes back on things he says or says something completely different like 50 other times.

Kids movies don't have direct parrallels to World War II facism and things like and finding out your father is a grossly disfigured version of Freddy Krueger who basically is a head Nazi or some kind of commentary on Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, etc. etc.

In fact as a kid if I'm honest I really didn't like Star Wars. It was too serious and too dark, He-Man, Disney cartoons, The Goonies, E.T., Ghostbusters were all more relatable to me as a kid. I didn't really understand the story until I got older.
 

Morrison71

Member
Oct 27, 2017
749
It’s interesting, the new trilogy was clearly made for the fans but if you asked which made more fans and which the fans liked more, I wouldn’t bet against the prequels.
 

plagiarize

To its ports I have been
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,443
Cape Cod, MA
I don't really take everything George says as gospel, for one he goes back on things he says or says something completely different like 50 other times.

Kids movies don't have direct parrallels to World War II facism and things like and finding out your father is a grossly disfigured version of Freddy Krueger who basically is a head Nazi or some kind of commentary on Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, etc. etc.

In fact as a kid if I'm honest I really didn't like Star Wars. It was too serious and too dark, He-Man, Disney cartoons, The Goonies, E.T., Ghostbusters were all more relatable to me as a kid.
Yes they do!

Have you heard of Doctor Who?
 

4Tran

Member
Nov 4, 2017
837
There's plenty that TLJ could have done, but Rian decided to go nuclear. Kids aren't going to relate to Luke's cynical rambling or appreciate having their expectations subverted at every turn.
Hah! Luke being nuts was the best part of the film! The problem is that while I'd say that Johnson did a terrible job, he was given junk to work with. It'd be like making the second Lord of the Rings film and still being forced into doing things like answering who Sauron is, what the One Ring is and why they have to destroy it, and defining who Frodo is.
 

Anth0ny

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,258
And by struggling, they mean the second biggest movie franchise in the world, trailing only the MCU. MAYBE #3 behind the DCU.

Solo was an all time bomb but they still cranked out 3 $1b+ movies 3 Decembers in a row, with a 4th on its way this year.

I'm curious which brands in general they think are bigger with kids than Star Wars. Off the top of my head:

Marvel
DC
Grand Theft Auto
Call of Duty
Minecraft
Fortnite
Mario
Pokemon (sure as fuck didn't help the Detective Pikachu box office)
maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe Jurassic Park?

is there anything else? Between the toys, games, tv shows and movies Star Wars has to be in the top 10.
 

Jest

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,419
Er, yes it is. It's comedic, yes, but it uses the hero's journey as a framework. Plenty of fairy tales follow the hero's journey.
It really doesn't follow the framework of the hero's journey. Shrek doesn't have a mentor. He doesn't have a temptation. Transformation is arguable.


At this point, it seems more like you've made up your mind and will reject any example for nebulous reasons. Avatar, the second most watched film of all time, was definitely successful with kids as well as adults. That you are somehow trying to warp both The Matrix and Avatar into being questionably successful is precisely why I feel like you've made up your mind before even considering these examples.
By this metric, Star Wars is still successful with kids. Except the entire topic of the thread is about being popular enough with kids to sell toys/merch.

But your entire premise was that it's impossible to become a giant kid-friendly franchise by being merely a hero's journey. Doesn't matter if the later sequels pivoted away from the Hero's journey framework, POTC is, without a shread of doubt, a modern kid-centric film series that became a smash hit by following the hero's journey without already being massively popular before hand through other literature.
My premise was not about kid friendly. Not about kid centric. Popular enough with kids to have successful toy/merch sales while utilizing the classic Hero's Journey. This isn't about my "already having made up my mind." It's about you cruising over my post without considering it's relevance directly to the topic and trying to pull a "gotcha."
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
To me as 80s/90s kid

The Goonies was a clear cut "kids movie". E.T. was a "family" movie.

A notch up above that was Indiana Jones, which was more of an adult version of The Goonies as I saw it.

Star Wars was a notch above Indiana Jones for being serious/more dark/complex.
 

jett

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
19,811
This is a very light and superficial article to be honest, but there's no doubt Disney/Lucasfilm aren't handling this brand as well as Marvel.

The new movies, as much as I like them, rely too much on nostalgia to capture the attention of kids.
This is the mistake of these new movies. Everything is some variant of "REMEMBER STARWAR?" They aren't building on anything. The foundations set by TFA are basically non-existent. Nobody will give a shit about Rey, Poe and Finn the way people cared about the original three heroes.
 

Boiled Goose

Member
Nov 2, 2017
9,326
Yet they both so far got great reviews and did fantastic at the box-office.
They both have different fundamental flaws that limit their appeal and impact.

They've both relied on old Tropes instead of creating their own identity and universe (the highly flawed prequels at least did this)

What's new here?
Jedi mysterious. Done in original.
Jedi's at peak. Done in prequels.
Death stars. Done twice in originals, rehashed here
Pod racing, different lighsabers, clones. Prequels
Storm troopers. Empire. Originals.
Wise small aliens. Originals and prequels, rehashed here
Etc etc etc.

They just do so little new in terms of world building. The core story of rey and kylo is new and interesting, but it's completely diluted by the garbage sequences of the casino and the nonsensical plot in the cruiser.

Both the prequels and originals had compelling characters in new, wholly original settings. The latter is missing in the sequels
 

Joeytj

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,490
Every movie franchise is struggling against Marvel with the "next generation" of kids because that's simply the biggest thing out there. Star Wars being the #2 isn't surprising, and has been there before —the prequels were beaten by the fantasy (LOTR, Harry Potter) genre back in the early 2000s, for example.

And it's not the first time Star Wars was counted out. Every generation born between Star Wars trilogies (especially those born after the OT and before the prequels) missed out on Star Wars being the "biggest thing."

And this time, Star Wars has competition in the form of the biggest media franchise since... well, Star Wars. Literally, if there was going to be one franchise that managed to compete against Star Wars for being the defining contemporary American mythology for the entire world, it was going to be either Marvel or DC, and Marvel turned out to be it (well deserved, of course.)

Marvel also peeked right as Star Wars started to take a break, with TROS being the only Star Wars movie released in a span of three and a half years and no more announced movies until 2021, with TV Shows picking up the slack.

No doubt Iger wanted Star Wars to be their second Marvel, and it still is honestly, but I think they figured out that Star Wars can only exist from time to time and not at the same pace as Marvel, or the same form.

To me, it's always been clear that Lucasfilm's mission since 2012, especially Kennedy's, was to revitalize Star Wars after the hit it took from the prequels and put an end to the nostalgia from the Skywalker saga with TROS, and then lay the foundations for creating a new Star Wars after that.
 

Tomasoares

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,318
I was supposed to be hooked into SW with the prequels, but even as a child they were quite boring films and I was never able to understand the plot with politics and convoluted plot. TBH, nowdays I like I and III more, but I was only hooked with SW when episode VII got released. OT is pretty good, though, bar VI, which is prequel level for me.
 

Yasuke

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,646
MCU is a testament that character is king before anything else, including story.
Yep.

Which is why it’s always frustrating to hear people levy the typical blockbuster complaints about them just being dumb action films towards them.

These movies wouldn’t be what they are if audiences didn’t give a fuck about the characters.
 

CrocoDuck

Member
Oct 28, 2017
929
Yup. My younger brother doesn’t like it as much as I did. And we both don’t particularly like the new movies (mainly Last Jedi, which he fell asleep).
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
This is a very light and superficial article to be honest, but there's no doubt Disney/Lucasfilm aren't handling this brand as well as Marvel.



This is the mistake of these new movies. Everything is some variant of "REMEMBER STARWAR?"
Why is Marvel the only metric that matters? They're having their peak moment, Star Wars had that too. MCU will eventually have it's own ebb/flow cycle where it is on a bit of a downswing itself unless you think 30 years from now kids will still think Robert Downey Jr. is the coolest.
 
Oct 16, 2018
9
they need to crank out better movies IMO. Trying to capture new fans requires more than what they produced. Good luck doing that.....

The originals came out when nothing comparable existed, Lucas was revolutionary at the helm, and ford could charm anybody. The new films are not even close.
 

Dreams-Visions

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
17,131
Miami, FL
They haven't made a Star Wars that wasn't in some way directly linked to past episodes. It's easy to feel "behind" and disengage.

I think when they start making episodes with brand new stories, it will be easier for them to reach new audiences.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
Every movie franchise is struggling against Marvel with the "next generation" of kids because that's simply the biggest thing out there. Star Wars being the #2 isn't surprising, and has been there before —the prequels were beaten by the fantasy (LOTR, Harry Potter) genre back in the early 2000s, for example.

And it's not the first time Star Wars was counted out. Every generation born between Star Wars trilogies (especially those born after the OT and before the prequels) missed out on Star Wars being the "biggest thing."

And this time, Star Wars has competition in the form of the biggest media franchise since... well, Star Wars. Literally, if there was going to be one franchise that managed to compete against Star Wars for being the defining contemporary American mythology for the entire world, it was going to be either Marvel or DC, and Marvel turned out to be it (well deserved, of course.)

Marvel also peeked right as Star Wars started to take a break, with TROS being the only Star Wars movie released in a span of three and a half years and no more announced movies until 2021, with TV Shows picking up the slack.

No doubt Iger wanted Star Wars to be their second Marvel, and it still is honestly, but I think they figured out that Star Wars can only exist from time to time and not at the same pace as Marvel, or the same form.

To me, it's always been clear that Lucasfilm's mission since 2012, especially Kennedy's, was to revitalize Star Wars after the hit it took from the prequels and put an end to the nostalgia from the Skywalker saga with TROS, and then lay the foundations for creating a new Star Wars after that.
Star Wars has been no.2 and even no.3/4/5 many times over the years, people who think otherwise are being very naive.

I remember in the mid-late 80s when Star Wars toys were in the clearance bin and being discounted and kids still wouldn't touch them.

This whole idea that Star Wars has been no.1 with kids from 1977 onwards and is now losing some kind of throne is laughably false to begin with.
 

Alienhated

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,044
They lost the engagment of the old fans by mishandling and wasting the old characters while kicking off the new trilogy with the most uninteresting and corporate by-the-numbers soft reboot ever, they failed to establish compelling new characters and an intriguing new story arc and younger generations won't care, the movies themselves are barely mediocre at best and i doubt people will remember them in the future.
 

jett

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
19,811
Why is Marvel the only metric that matters? They're having their peak moment, Star Wars had that too. MCU will eventually have it's own ebb/flow cycle where it is on a bit of a downswing itself unless you think 30 years from now kids will still think Robert Downey Jr. is the coolest.
Marvel is simply the most immediate comparison, and the same company owns both brands. Like Marvel, Lucasfilm attempted to go beyond a mere movie series and attempted create some kind of cinematic universe. But unlike Marvel they failed and are now in the middle of reassessing things.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,990
The interview is from 1976! He was in the process of making the movie!
The movie that really honestly established the defacto Star Wars tone is Empire IMO. That's where a lot of the mythos get cemented, and that tonally is damn sure not a kids movie. The Goonies is a kids movie, and tonally even as a kid I knew there was a massive difference between The Goonies and even Indiana Jones, let alone Empire Strikes Back.