OPINION: Force Awakens one of few films to achieve monetary and critical success

Jacob Brase | Staff Writer

Movie studios have one goal in mind when creating films: make a lot of money.

When this goal is achieved, that movie is deemed a success by most audiences and movies studios alike. Recently, Hollywood has begun searching for the next box office hit at the expense of a well thought out plot and character development. The quality of a movie should always define its success, even if it does not excel at the box office.

Critics deem ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017) “terrific,” “visually stunning,” and movie goers tend to agree. The film will compete for many Academy awards in March and features multiple incredible performances. But, one problem remains: you probably have not seen it.

The sequel to the 1982 classic produced very little income, letting down Sony Pictures, the studio that invested more than $155 million on the project. Regardless, ‘Blade Runner 2049’  returned with only $60 million of its investment after 10 days in theaters. This undoubtedly puts it in the category of Hollywood’s ‘Box Office Bombs’.                           

After it failed at the box office, many considered ‘Blade Runner 2049’ to be a failure, ignoring the extremely positive reception it received from audiences.

‘Blade Runner 2049’ is a success. You can ask no more of a director than to make a good movie. That is exactly what Denis Villeneuve did, yet studios may reconsider hiring him for another film due to the lack of profit the film made.

‘Transformers 5,’ which received extremely poor reviews and nowhere close to the praise of ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ pocketed over $130 million at the box office. This amount easily trumps ‘Blade Runner 2049’ earnings of $90 million.

Huge box office hits like the ‘Transformers’ series tend to rely on extravagant Computer Generated Images (CGI) and tell lackluster stories that are only meant to entertain, yet these films continue to get made, and are considered ‘successful’ only because of the box office performance.

When deciding whether or not to continue a franchise, it seems this is the only thing Hollywood studios consider.

Impactful movies like ‘Blade Runner 2049’ are timeless. These films still hold up decades after they premiere, leaving a lasting and significant impact on the audience. It is films like these Hollywood must strive for and celebrate as successes.

Few films are able to obtain this true success, and even fewer are able to perform well at the box office on top of this.

While the galaxy may never achieve a balance in the force, the Star Wars movie franchise has most definitely achieved the perfect combination of good reception and good income on their films, a rare and remarkable feat. In 2015, Lucasfilm released ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2017), which was loved by all audiences and critics alike and also earned a whopping $1 billion at the box office, easily placing it as the highest grossing film of the year. Success like this that has caused Hollywood studios to invest in the production of over 10 films in ‘Star Wars’ universe to date.

This franchise is a rare example of a film series that is praised by its viewers, and seemingly always performs well at the box office. With ‘Star Wars: the Last Jedi’ set to become yet another critical and box office hit, Lucasfilm has no plans on slowing down.