Editor Column: Nostalgia, ‘Star Wars’ and a final bribe
The force is strong with this … well, it’s a lot more than one.
And although galaxy might be a bit of a stretch, those of us eager to see the newest installment of “Star Wars” could, at the very least, fill all of the 31 stadiums that house the National Football League’s 32 teams.
How do I know that? About a month ago, there were numerous reports about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” smashing advance ticket sales with more than $50 million. Let’s say each ticket ran $20 — $10 more than the average movie ticket price in the U.S. That would translate to 2.5 million tickets sold. Again, these are the advance ticket sales, and that number was reported a month ago.
To circle back to my NFL reference; let’s assume each stadium holds 80,000 people — another generous assumption for the sake of simplicity. It would take 2.48 million people to fill all of the NFL’s 31 stadiums.
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I would joke that the nerds are flexing their collective weak arm on this one, but what makes the “Star Wars” movies (OK, the original three) great is that the movies transcend the stereotypical geek audience associated with science-fiction films.
My introduction to the franchise came on Christmas many years ago when my mother gifted the original trilogy on VHS to my father, who was delighted to sit the family down and pop in “Star Wars IV.”
If memory serves me correctly, he said something along the lines of “you have no idea how groundbreaking this was when it came out.” (The original “Star Wars” was released in 1977.)
To be clear, my father was a pretty solid athlete in high school and he went to college on a full-ride scholarship to play football. He is about as far as you can get from a sci-fi buff. In hindsight, though, it was funny he felt the need to give that explanation to his three children all younger than the age of 6. The characters, the sounds, the scenery — it blew us away and for days we ran around the house arguing who got to be Luke Skywalker.
Another note of clarification, I am not a “super fan” who spends hours on blogs and message boards arguing about C3PO’s sexual orientation (yes, that’s a thing) and other trivial details pertaining to the films. Similarly, you won’t see me with the “Star Wars” filter on my Facebook profile picture, but that’s mostly because I think those filters — including those supporting same-sex marriage and France after the November terrorist attack — are stupid.
I was disgusted, though, when I went to re-watch the original trilogy in college, because it seemed like an appropriate way to spend a day, only to find that the films had been altered many times since I originally saw them.
“This is ridiculous. I can’t watch. I can’t watch.” Perhaps my reaction at the age of 5 was more mature than my reaction in college.
However, that last point, the one about being disappointed in finding something different than I remembered it, speaks to the type of fan I consider myself: one who can’t quote dialogue but one who loves the movies out of pure nostalgia.
Other than the research for this column and a couple of occasional stories on NPR, I’ve refrained from reading up on this newest “Star Wars.” I want to feel the same surprise and excitement that I did watching the first three movies on Christmas years ago. I intend on doing so, although it will have to wait. I could make one final plea to the trustees in Parachute and ask them to cancel their meeting Thursday, but that seems like a stretch at this point. (If any trustees read this before Thursday evening, I’ll buy the tickets.)
May the force be with you, nerds, and enjoy the show.
Ryan Hoffman does not mind if you call him a nerd. You can call him whatever you would like to by calling 970-685-2103 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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