New Star Wars Movie Will Have an Economic and Pop Culture Impact

Photo: Lucasfilm.comPhoto:

By: Ball State University Division of Strategic Communications—

From an economic and pop culture standpoint, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” may be the biggest movie event in this or any other galaxy, says Alex Kartman, a Ball State telecommunications instructor.

Nearly 50,000 tickets have already been sold for the Dec. 18 premiere, which will be shown in about 4,100 theaters across the nation. Demand for tickets on Oct. 19 crashed every major online ticket agency from Fandango to IMAX to AMC Theaters.

Estimates from several filmmakers are predicting this will be the biggest film of all time, eclipsing “Avatar,” “Titanic” and “Jurassic World” — surpassing $3 billion worldwide, says Kartman, who spent four hours refreshing a ticket site to purchase ducats for himself and his wife for opening night.

“Even if you don’t like Star Wars, you have to be amazed about the potential economic global economic impact,” he says. “I’ve seen ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ ads on everything from car commercials to grocery store produce. There’s no escaping Disney’s efforts to make sure the world knows Dec. 18 is the biggest event in every galaxy near and far far away.”

Kartman points out Disney, which acquired the movie franchise from Lucasfilm in 2012, first rolled Star Wars toys back in September to build the hype. Several estimates peg toy sales at $1 billion domestically and $5 billion internationally.

“The film is not being marketed to children only. With the movie trailer premiering during Monday Night Football in October, it immediately captured the prime audience for Disney — the baby boom generation looking to relive the nostalgia of 1977 with their children and grandchildren.”

In a recent sketch, “Saturday Night Live” parodied the Star Wars marketing campaign, proving adults well above the recommended 7-and-up age range are the ones demanding the onslaught of toys, Kartman says.

He also believes those associated with the movie are tapping into the female market by making Rey played by Daisy Ridley a strong lead character.

“Add to this the behind-the-scenes being overseen by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, the time is ripe for a female artist to be creatively in charge of a Star Wars film,” Kartman says.  “In recent press coverage, J.J. Abrams, the movie’s director, was asked about the female influence on the Star Wars universe and how more women could become involved in the filmmaking process. Abrams immediately recommended ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay.”


Kartman may be reached at 260-515-0697 or