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What online surveys say about the last Star Wars premier

Moviegoers are cautiously optimistic about "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Director J.J. Abrams has whetted fans' appetites with stirring, nostalgia-filled trailers and mentions of the film's back-to-basics production style which relies on practical effects rather than digital trickery. Excitement is in the air. 

It was like this 16 years ago prior to the release of  "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace," the first of three prequels directed by George Lucas. Space opera aficionados were confident. 

Premier positives
According to a pre-premier CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey conducted in May 1999, 56 percent of fans believed Lucas' new addition would further the Star Wars legacy

Nearly 30 percent of adults age 18 to 29 saw the film, reported Gallup. And, 17 percent of adults age 30-49 - individuals old enough to remember the original Star Wars premier in 1977 - attended at least one screening. The film netted just over $22 million during its opening weekend, reported IMDB.  

Despite mixed and negative reviews, audiences seemed to enjoy the film. According to Gallup, 33 percent of viewers thought the film was "excellent."

The slow decay of time
As time passed, the luster that colored the premier faded. The film's flawed narrative structure and wooden dialogue began to overshadow its novelty - Jar Jar Binks' irksome inflection seemed to echo into eternity.

In a survey conducted by Rolling Stone, fans said the film was the most disappointing sequel ever. According to FiveThirtyEight, filmgoers also consider "The Phantom Menace" the third-worst film across the entire Star Wars franchise.

A franchise fights on
Despite Lucas' filmic missteps, Star Wars continues to prosper. Wired reported the brand has generated $37 billion over its entire lifetime.

Memorabilia is one of the many driving forces behind the series' continued financial success. Hasbro's Star Wars toy line has netted $6 billion since 1995, reported i09. And, according to Macquarie Securities, new merchandise pegged to "The Force Awakens" is expected to gross around $5 billion

Of course, the sustained popularity of the original films has also helped preserve the brand. In a poll organized by FiveThirtyEight, film buffs said the first film, "Star Wars: A New Hope," was the most re-watchable movie of all time.     

The franchise's most recent Blu-ray reissue, "Star Wars: The Complete Saga," made $38 million in its first week of availability, reported Deadline.

Forecasting the force
"The Force Awakens" is on track to have an explosive - and lucrative - opening weekend. Tickets went on sale Oct. 19, reported The New York Times. In a statement released to the press, online ticket vendor Fandango said the film smashed its first-day sales record.

Needless to say, moviegoers are fairly enthusiastic about the film, which premiers worldwide Dec. 18. And, just as they did 16 years ago, fans are predicting that the space saga's new chapter will be a classic. According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive and covered by Vanity Fair, 63 percent of respondents believe "The Force Awakens" will prove to be the best Star Wars film.  

Gearing up for "The Force Awakens"? Buttress your entertainment budget by taking paid surveys online. Remember, here at Opinion Outpost you can redeem your points for Amazon.com Gift Card* claim codes.

*Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this program. For complete gift card terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. ©,®,™ Amazon.com Inc. and/or its affiliates, 2014. No expiration date or service fees.  


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