Disney credits secrecy, clever marketing for part of franchise film’s success
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has triumphed with the country’s biggest opening weekend in history, according to Disney Canada.
Projected to bring in $17.1 million at Canadian box offices on its opening weekend, the J.J. Abrams-directed franchise movie has beaten the previous record held by Marvel’s The Avengers.
“We knew this was going to be well received but this has exceeded all expectations,” said Greg Mason, Walt Disney Studios Canada’s vice-president of marketing.
“Canadians don’t tend to rush out as much on opening weekend as their American counterparts, although this weekend did not prove that point,” he told CBC News.
In North America as a whole, the studio estimates the movie will bring in a galactic $238 million US ($330 million Cdn) over the weekend.
That makes it the biggest North American opening of all time, surpassing the previous record held by Jurassic World.
Mason says keeping spoilers under wraps beforehand was part of this weekend’s success and credits Abrams with the idea for maintaining intense secrecy around the plot.
“All the materials that were released was a very carefully crafted plan of releasing very little on the film but enough to entice people,” he said.
“When you cue up all the footage and things that were shown, it’s really not a lot of the film, and I think that’s what makes it incredibly special.”
Investment paying off
Disney paid just over $4 billion US for Lucasfilm, the production company behind Star Wars, in 2012, an investment that now appears to be paying off. Sequels and spinoffs are in development for years to come.
Strong reviews have been pouring in for the latest Star Wars film, which is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi.
In Canada, The Avengers now holds second spot for biggest debut weekend at $15.6 million. Avengers: Age of Ultron, released earlier this year, is in third at $13.8 million.