Star Wars 7: Mass Media witnessed the power of the Disney side
Star Wars… This Brand is 38 years in the making and counting. One of the best fantastic stories ever. Even after so many years, its popularity is amazing. Even without marketing and advertising almost everyone knows what is "Star Wars".
I will not do any spoilers so that all of you can witness that seventh episode yourself. What I want to discuss is background: changes that happened to the project lately and their marketing and advertising.
Let’s start from pointing one of the biggest differences between the new episode and all the previous ones. Creator of Star Wars George Lucas is no longer in charge. In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion. Yes, Micky Mouse brand defeated Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker combined or came for the aid. Now we have one of the biggest brands portfolios in Disneys pockets. Changes were inevitable. And they happened. New Sith lord had his plans and they started to show up before the actual movie.
Whole picture budget is 200 million USD. Compared to last one, the third episode which was 113 million USD.
Marketing & Advertising. Due to information promotion budget is close to 150 million USD. More expensive than the previous movie itself. That is one of the big differences between the launch of Episode 1 for example and the last, seventh episode. The story is very popular and people mainly need to be informed where to get some tickets. I didn’t see too much promotion during the last launch. There were advertising and good marketing that brought people to the cinemas, that's all I can say about it. This time, whole life around us changed to Star Wars brand reality. Disney marketing and advertising people unleashed their force on the budget and mass media. It is even hard to point out some current marketing tools or media they didn’t use.
Banners all over the web, high-quality trailers, outdoor, commercials, radio, TV, magazines, internet, partner commercials. Even when you visit the closest mall you might run into stormtroopers walking around, or their posters on the doors. The only thing I didn't see is death star flying in the air above cities. Electronic Arts company had some huge launch of Star Wars: Battlefront game. And they were and are promoting the seventh episode as well. Even clothes shops have Star Wars branded stuff. Even the White House in Washington D.C. was invaded by the Storm Troopers to make a special premiere there.
So much activity was a little worrying for me because last time I saw great advertising campaign in such a huge amount was during the launch of Skyline (I’ll just say that I didn’t like the movie). All that was like some kind of message to George Lucas from the Disney. Like: «Who’s the daddy now?»
Well, big companies have big budgets and if they spend it on good stuff promotion I don’t mind. Especially speaking of such a magnificent story like Star Wars. Kids playing lego, they will also know it, love it and enjoy.
Now to another change that I witnessed. Episode 7 The Force Awakens is a new movie based on the old story. By new I mean different approach in filming than in the other ones. It still has great stars like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher. It also received new ones like Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver. Lawrence Kasdan, co-writer of the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi, and J.J. Abrams (film director and co-producer) rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt.
Here are some exciting salary data:
- Daisy Ridley and John Boyega received 450 000 USD each;
- J.J. Abrams was paid 5 000 000 USD;
- Carrie Fisher was paid approximately 1 500 000 USD to bring back Princess Leia;
- Harrison Ford will get 35 million USD (compared to 10 thousand USD for his first Han Solo play in the original 1977 Star Wars film).
The Nice cut I can say. A HUGE part of the movie budget is actors. Is it a big part of Disneys marketing and advertising plan? It must be.
As a creative consultant on the film, Lucas attended early story meetings and advised on the details of the Star Wars universe. Among the materials, he turned over to the production team were his rough story treatments for Episodes VII–IX; he later stated that Disney had discarded his story ideas and that he had no further involvement with the film. Living creator was out of the story. That’s the answer you should have on all the questions possible. Every change is connected to it. Well, we should also remember that George Lucas refused to work on new episodes meaning that if Disney didn't buy Lucasfilm we might have never seen The Force Awakens. So thank you, Disney, for that, it's a big plus for their brand.
Every good story is worth being part of our life. Due to expectation movie has to be good. Disney intends to do the good work. The only question now: will it be as MAGNIFICENT as previous episodes were…
All we can be sure about: