Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ New Teaser Focuses on Villain Kylo Ren (But …

26 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens spot comes full circle.

John Williams may have nabbed three Academy Award noms in years prior for scoring the popular franchise, but excess faithfulness to the original music could threaten awards consideration for ‘Episode VII.’ Will the Force be with John Williams once again come Oscar time? Should the maestro’s score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens land an Academy Award nomination, it will be his 50th overall and his fourth go-round in the category for Star Wars material.

At the time, we had no idea what it meant, or who was speaking, but over time we learned it was the voice of the dark-side dweller Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis.) Now, on the anniverary of that teaser debut, Disney has released a new trailer that brings everything full circle – and gives Snoke his answer: “Yes.” So says Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, a student of the dark side, a collector of Darth Vader icons. But because of the way Hollywood structures agreements, exhibitors will pay a higher share of ticket revenue to distributor Walt Disney Co. than with most other films. “Well north of 60 percent,” estimates Eric Wold, an analyst with B. In another interesting plot twist, potentially spoiling Williams’ trip to the winner’s circle is Thomas Newman, who stepped in to score Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies when Williams, 83, had to bow out for since-resolved medical issues. The focus of this trailer seems to be split between Ren and one of the movie’s new heroes, Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, whose confrontation with the masked villain gets a few more seconds of screentime.

In addition to moves like round-the-clock screenings, group sales and premium showings in 3-D and Imax formats, exhibitors are getting creative with concession sales and adding merchandise to the mix as they seek to enhance profit margins. We also see the familiar shot of The First Order assembled before Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux on the surface of Starkiller Base, only this time there’s a bright red glow in the sky. The exhibitors “have to find a way to make this work for them,” Wold said. “They can do what they can to boost profitability around it by driving concessions sales.” Disney, which licenses the swag, and the movie houses are borrowing from Broadway, working with New York-based Araca Group, which provides merchandise for live theatrical shows. Though totally worthy on their own merits, both Harry Gregson-Williams’ wide-ranging score for The Martian and Howard Shore’s subtle, tension-filled work for Spotlight also could benefit from their films’ front-runner status. Looks like the show of force is not just the vast battalion of troops and machinery gathered for a rally, but a demonstration of that planet-sized weapon’s capabilities.

Among the other contenders are Johann Johannsson for his often pulsating, dark score for Sicario, the previously un-nominated Carter Burwell for his lush work on Carol, Ryuichi Sakamoto for The Revenant (potentially along with Alva Noto) and — although he may be hurt by the movie’s poor performance at the box office and its uneven reception among critics — Daniel Pemberton, who pulled off an admirable hat trick on Steve Jobs by giving each of the film’s three acts its own distinct score. The late James Horner, who earned eight best score nominations and one win (for Titanic), also could receive his final nomination for his work on The 33.

It will screen the picture around-the-clock on opening weekend, and concession stands will feature souvenir popcorn containers emblazoned with “Star Wars” characters, said Rolando Rodriguez, chief executive officer of Marcus’s theater unit. At Carmike Cinemas Inc., the country’s fourth-largest chain, $40 will buy a “Star Wars” fan a T-shirt, unlimited popcorn and refills in collectible drink cups. And dine-in theater chain Studio Movie Grill is introducing a themed brunch – with cinnamon-flavored “Princess Leia Buns” for $6.95 – to cater to early risers catching the film at its 23 locations.

There will also be cocktails like the “Tattoine Sunrise Mimosa” for $5 and “Yoda-rita,” an under-$10 twist on the Margarita using Sauza Blue Reposado tequila. Advance sales overall are running three times that of those sold for the latest “Hunger Games” installment, Rodriguez said. “This is bigger than anything I’ve seen and I’ve seen a lot, including ‘Harry Potter,”’ said Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, who helped oversee that franchise at rival Warner Bros. “The Force Awakens” could generate a record $762 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, according to Boxoffice.com. Representatives from the biggest U.S. movie chains, Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., Cinemark Holdings Inc. and Carmike, either didn’t return calls or declined to discuss the rental splits. Instead of including tax with the cost of concession items as they have in the past, some are now tacking it onto the sale, which increases the total paid by the customer, he said.

With merchandise there are always logistical issues, including how to return items and what customers do with the products when they’re in their seats, according to Marty Brochstein, a senior vice president with the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association.

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