Earlier this week, we learned that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had outsold The Force Awakens in ticket sales and that its pre-sales were almost double that of Avengers: Endgame. At first glance, this doesn’t seem too preposterous. Star Wars is the only franchise in the same league as the MCU and, like Endgame, The Rise of Skywalker is the much-hyped conclusion of a long-running story. But there may be more to this than meets the eye.
YouTube channel The Quartering has released a video that reveals some suspicious patterns in these ticket sales. They allege that Disney are purchasing seats in opening weekend screenings from cinema chains, and have evidence to back it up. Their argument is that when you look at the seats available for the screenings on the opening weekend, they follow a pattern. For example, Twitter user @Dataracer117 posted an image that shows a Cinemark 14 with the same 94 seats pre-sold for every screening from December 19th to December 26th.
As you can see, the edge seats are block-booked, with the outer edges of every screening unavailable for sale. Surely anyone booking tickets to the opening weekend would choose to sit in the middle seats before the edges, right? The Quartering’s video actually alleges that everything except the edges are sold out, but they’re reading the seat availability incorrectly (according to the legend in the top corner).
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So why would Disney do this? Well, headlines like “Record Sales for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Tickets” are a form of marketing in and of themselves, causing audiences to worry about missing out on the next big thing and book in advance. It also creates an aura of success around the movie, which can go a long way towards giving it some box office momentum.
The Quartering’s video tellingly points out that we saw similar headlines for Solo back in 2018, where we saw stories claiming it had sold more advance tickets than Black Panther did a few months earlier. But as we all know, Solo was a big flop, losing Disney $50 million, while Black Panther went on to make $1.3 billion.
Something definitely stinks here and personally, I think Disney owes us an explanation. If it’s true, manipulating advance ticket sales for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker like this is some seriously shady stuff.
Source: The Quartering