Remember when Solo failed disastrously at the box office, and the excuse for poor marketing started to make the rounds on the internet? According to ScreenRant:
Per Deadline, Doug Cruetz, a media analyst at Cowen, recently issued a report that rated Disney shares. In it, he offered his two cents on Solo not meeting expectations, pointing to a lackluster promotional campaign. As some may recall, Lucasfilm didn’t unveil the first look at the film until the Super Bowl in February (roughly three months before release) and made the curious decision to hide star Alden Ehrenreich in early materials. This contrasted from the other films of Star Wars’ Disney era, which had eight-month long marketing campaigns that built up hype over a long period of time and shined a spotlight on their main characters.
Readers of this blog know better.
It now appears that Disney may be laying the groundwork to apply this excuse in response to potentially dismal numbers at their theme park. According to wegotthiscovered.com:
Disney’s been busy showing off their work-in-progress recently, putting out some neat videos teasing what’s come, and it’s now been revealed that they’re so confident in Galaxy’s Edge that they don’t see any point in marketing it. Speaking about their plans for the opening, CEO Bob Iger said the following:
“And I would say, by the way, on the marketing expense side, don’t expect much. I’m thinking that maybe I should just tweet, ‘It’s opening,’ and that will be enough. I think we’re going to end up with incredibly popular and in-demand product with these two new lands.”
Honestly, he’s probably right. The mere opening of these two parks is guaranteed to generate a ton of good press, with every outlet falling over themselves in order to get the first peek at what’s inside the park. Why bother spending money on ads when you can get journalists to do the job for you, right? I also fully believe that these parks are going to be filled to capacity for a very long time after they’re opened.
And according to CinemaBlend:
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening very soon at two different Disney Parks, but don’t actually expect to hear much about it from Disney. The fact of the matter is that everybody already knows that Galaxy’s Edge is coming and the company knows that the minute an official opening date is announced, everybody will know that too, so Disney won’t need to spend a lot of money promoting the fact. When asked during a recent earnings call what sort of expenditures were expected in advance of the new land’s opening, Disney CEO Bob Iger said not to expect much, because spending a lot of money won’t be necessary.
When ever Disney Parks opens something new there is usually a pretty big marketing push. You see commercials for a new attraction or land on TV or online and, as I live in California, I frequently drive by billboards advertising the newest thing that Disneyland has going on. While there will almost certainly be some of that still happening when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World later this year, it might not happen as much as it has in the past.
To be fair, Bob Iger isn’t wrong. This is very much a “if you build it, they will come” sort of situation. Most everybody who cares already knows that Galaxy’s Edge is coming. Many are probably already waiting to make their hotel reservations, all they need are the specific dates the new land will be opening in order to know when to book the room.
Why would Disney expect potentially dismal numbers?
Beyond the expectations that Episode IX is a “lame duck” as Scott Mendelson put it, There are other considerations. According to Robert Niles from Theme Park Insider:
Generation X grew up on Star Wars. But fans won’t find Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Darth Vader when they visit Galaxy’s Edge. Disney has decided to exclude almost all of this franchise’s beloved characters from the land. If fans hated seeing their Han and Luke getting killed off in the new Star Wars movies, at least they got to spend a little time with them on screen in those productions. They will be absent in Galaxy’s Edge, which instead creates new storylines unconnected to the original trilogy that made Star Wars, well, Star Wars.
Galaxy’s Edge might turn out to be the biggest bait and switch in theme park history, as thousands of fans spend huge amounts of money to visit the Star Wars of their youth, only to discover that Disney has created an unrelated land that is, in many ways, “Star Wars” in name only. Imagine the social media backlash when that word gets out.
Just as Galaxy’s Edge will not feature the most popular Star Wars characters, it will not feature any iconic Star Wars locations, either. No Death Star. No Tatooine. No Coruscant. Instead, Galaxy’s Edge will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the up-until-now never-heard-of planet of Batuu.
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