The Rise of Skywalker is the End…for Star Wars on Film

With The Rise of Skywalker’s box office coming in at an estimated $206 million dollars for the Christmas Holiday, Disney/Lucasfilm is moving the property—and its future spectacles—to streaming services, i.e. Disney+.

He was right, This thing is going to end. And quite painfully.

From the trades:

But with “Rise of Skywalker’s” arrival, it’s impossible not to feel as if the film’s release is unfolding at another moment of transition for the movie business and for one of its most influential franchises. Its $176 million debut, though massive, ranks as the lowest opening of the most recent three films in the saga, falling far below 2015’s “The Force Awakens” ($248 million) and 2017’s “The Last Jedi” ($220 million). Enthusiasm for the series is beginning to flag (2019’s spin-off “Solo: A Star Wars Story” did the impossible, becoming the first Star Wars movie to lose money). Reviews were lackluster and it’s unclear what Star Wars’ future will be on the big screen.

No. It’s actually pretty clear.

The Turn, as They Would Say in The Prestige

Netflix, NBCUniversal, HBO Max, and other streaming service have crowded the landscape with offerings, Disney+ is in the unique position to leverage a forty-year-old saga with built-in nostalgia and emotional connection among fans, into a property built solely on streaming and on-demand, rather than on a theatre/exhibition event type platform.

Looking for her future career prospects. It’s not that bright.

From the trades:

…2019 was notable as the year when media companies stopped dismissing Netflix as a plucky upstart and fully embraced its business model. Disney Plus launched in November, representing a huge gamble by Disney that it can elbow into the world of streaming without fatally disrupting its core theatrical and television businesses. WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal spent much of the last 12 months tinkering on their own Netflix-challengers, HBOMax and Peacock, which will debut in 2020, testing the public’s appetite for digital video providers. They will join a battle that already includes tech giants Amazon and Apple, both of which have unveiled streaming services of their own.

Competition is fierce.

What Are We To Make Of This?

With Kathleen Kennedy’s rumored departure and with a turn toward smaller, more intimate realizations of properties that once used to be contemplated on a massive scale, Disney+–particularly with their experimental rollout of The Mandalorian work well enough—is poised to be a major player in delivering Star Wars stories and properties to an increasingly niche audience.

More of this is coming, not less.

From the trades:

“Closure has value and I think J.J. Abrams has delivered a film [The Rise of Skywalker] that has closure, that is very satisfying,” he said. “Emotional as well, but quite satisfying. And while this represents the end of, really, nine chapters, which is quite extraordinary, it’s not the end of ‘Star Wars’ stories. In many respects, it’s the beginning of new ‘Star Wars’ stories.”

What Iger didn’t say, is that those stories may be streamed on tablets and phones instead of seen on the big screen.