Star Wars: The Force Awakens helps touch hearts of its fans

Chloe DeRosa, Assistant Business Manager/Computer Expert

The “Star Wars Saga” has been touching the hearts of fans for almost forty years and the force has been awakened again with the release of a new film. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” captivated an audience of millions, making a total of nearly $2 billion since its release Dec. 18, 2015, according to Box Office Mojo. The film’s $200 million budget may have contributed to its success, along with what the movie represents for its fans.

Disney has pushed theaters to give the new film four weeks in theaters, rather than the standardized three in order to promote the movie. Disney also required ticket prices be lower than the other movies to encourage movie-goers to buy higher priced popcorn and other concessions, which in some theaters displayed the Star Wars logo.

This deal brought profit for both theaters and the Star Wars franchise. Regal Cinemas margins for concessions reached 85 to 95 percent, according to CNBC.

The franchise advertised using merchandise displaying the name “Star Wars” and displaying the characters in the new film, as well as characters from the previous films.

The seventh major film by the franchise is considered a quirky, energetic film that also includes deep, serious qualities, according to fans who are attracted to those attributes. When Star Wars was presented in theaters years after its initial release, fans continue to dress up characters who have inspired them since 1977, showing that the film brought excitement and anticipation.

“One character that inspires me the most is Yoda because he is wise, has big ears, is a good mentor, and he is small, but has lots of power,” said Grady Elrod, English teacher.

Due to the efforts of Disney to spread the word and bring people to the theaters, fans have been able to, once again, connect to what the franchise represents for them. Star Wars brings back many characters, as well.

Returning cast member Harrison Ford made over $10 million by the end of filming, while the lowest pay for a new cast member was around $100,000 according to StyleCaster. Mark Hamill, though had no lines and only a few minutes of screen time in the end, made at least $1 million, according to Movie Pilot.

The fans’ attraction to the film may also have something to do with the fact that J.J. Abrams, producer, is a fan of Star Wars himself. Abrams has been watching the movies since Episode IV reached theaters in 1977.

The science fiction and fantasy world also is known to captivate its viewers with its well-known intense and action-packed battle scenes. Abrams maintains an underlying narrative structure with a female protagonist and includes major characters dying in the film.

“I liked that J.J. Abrams took risks, capturing the razzle-dazzle of the human story by including archetypes like father-son relationships,” Elrod said.

The relationships between family is often portrayed and proves to be strongly empathetic for the fans. Father-son relationships are a common theme throughout narrative structure of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” giving the fans something invaluable to relate to and enjoy as the drama that surrounds the families appeals to those who may connect to those same issues.

Underneath the story, Star Wars includes culture and religious aspects that some people may or may not identify, making the movie appealing and realistic to its audience. Some people see the Force as a godlike power in the movie’s religion, Jediism, while some see the Force as scientific in which power lives within living things.

Not only adults who have grown up around Star Wars contribute to the film’s popularity, but children who were exposed to the film at an early age are the up-and-coming fanbase for the franchise. While the film is rated PG-13, that does not stop some children from seeing the “The Force Awakens.” Some viewers felt that the rating was a little too high.

PG-13 shouldn’t be the rating for the movie. It should be PG, so that everyone can enjoy it,” said Sahej Walia, freshman.

Nonetheless, people of all ages have found that Star Wars has had an impactful meaning, a lesson they could carry throughout their lives. Fans learn the difference between good and bad, meanings of friendship and family.

“I’ve learned that it’s important to be good, morally. It’s important to look after your friends. It’s important to resist oppression,” Elrod said..

People also learn to pick a side, light or dark, as the war between the Resistance and the First Order rages on, fighting for the Jedi and the Sith, respectfully.

“I would pick the light side because it represents beauty and being nice,” Walia said.

Due to the popularity of the new film, Disney was able to make nearly $2 billion, and that number continues to rise. Thus, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will most likely remain a phenomenon as long as Disney continues making Star Wars films.