Star Wars: the Force Awakens smashes attendance records – M&C talks to Disney

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Canada is Awake as Box Office Records Tumble

This morning Disney announced news that came as a surprise to no one. Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the biggest opening weekend film of all time in Canada.

With projected earnings of $17.1M, it beat the Canadian record for best opening weekend previously held by Marvel’s The Avengers at$15.6M and Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron with $13.8 M.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens also blew the door open on film records worldwide, taking $278M domestically and $517M worldwide.

We spoke with Greg Mason, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada’s VP of Marketing this morning who is personally as well as professionally overjoyed with the news.

Anne Brodie – Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a knockout – breaking worldwide and Canadian records. What is its power? Why does it / has it affected people so profoundly?

Greg Mason – The amazing thing about Star Wars is it appeals so broadly to so many people. Perhaps it’s the force! Parents are dying to go and introduce their kids into the world that they grew up with. JJ magnificently steered this next chapter and I think one of his greatest coups was creating one of the best female heroines in recent history in Rey, played by Daisy Ridley.

AB – You and the team at Disney Canada went way beyond the call of duty with an imaginative and fun campaign for media and the public. I can’t image the work it took – tell me a little about the past few months.

GM – We have all done our best to keep the genie in the bottle until the very end. This is a very rare film in that you really don’t know much about the story going in, so it feels so fresh and exciting as you get swept up into this galaxy far, far away.

That was the biggest challenge for all of us, controlling the materials and managing the hype. It was by far the most unique marketing campaign that I have ever worked on.

AB – This huge undertaking was made easier no doubt by your expressed love of the franchise.

GM – The 8 year old boy in me was cheering through-out every minute of the film. I recall perfectly when and where I was when I saw the original Star Wars in 1977. It’s an incredible privilege to play a small part in the release of The Force Awakens.

AB – One of my favourite elements of Star Wars is its human scale and big heart. What are yours?

GM – There is just so much to see in this incredible world that George Lucas created and JJ expanded upon. I love looking around the screen and taking in all of the amazing characters and jaw-dropping settings. You also can’t help but smile throughout this film. I love the comedic timing. It is spot on.

AB – Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau got involved. It’s a lovefest!! Please comment.

GM – This was first for us. It was an incredible privilege to screen the film in advance for our Prime Minister. Mr. Trudeau has an incredible passion for Star Wars. I was absolutely thrilled with his reaction and tweet, calling the film “Amazing!”

AB – Do you believe Harrison Ford will actually smile with this news?
GM – :-)

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