The new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, opened this weekend, and the box office returns for the latest installment in the saga spells out some disastrous news for fans and Disney shareholders alike: The $450 million that The Last Jedi earned over its opening weekend is less than even a third of what the cast and crew spent on paper towels.
Yikes. Say goodbye to any chances of Disney making an Episode IX, because The Last Jedi has just become one of the biggest financial failures in cinematic history.
Although Rian Johnson’s take on the globally beloved space epic has earned some praise with critics and garnered positive responses from the Star Wars fan community, the film is sadly still not on track to recuperate the $1.3 billion in paper towels purchased throughout production. The several million rolls of name-brand, premium paper towels bought for on-set use during principal photography vastly outpaced every other area of cost, including actors’ fees, digital effects, and the movie’s year-plus-long promotional campaign, and although Disney was hoping it would recoup these massive paper towel fees at the box office this weekend, The Last Jedi didn’t even come close. Even more tragically, hundreds of thousands of the paper towels didn’t end up getting used, meaning they now sit unused in a Lucasfilm storage facility, unable to be returned because someone on the crew removed their plastic wrap packaging.
Welp. It looks like even a franchise as beloved as Star Wars has the potential to tank at the box office.
Given that The Last Jedi is being widely regarded as the most visually stunning Star Wars’ chapter to date, it’s no wonder it took so many paper towels to make. Inside reports are suggesting that the costume department alone spent up to $150 million every day in order to wipe alien makeup off of actors, and another $90 million were used daily to clean off camera lenses. Additionally, more than $650 million in paper towels were gone through each week by crew members who accidentally spilled water bottles or food on set.
If you didn’t think the news could get any worse, brace yourself: The film has earned back such a small fraction of its paper towel budget that Disney is pulling The Last Jedi from theaters after this week to cut its losses, truly making this a flop for the Hollywood history books.
Utterly devastating. You can bet that Disney is going to be feeling the impact of this financial catastrophe for years to come. This is bound to serve as a major lesson in how NOT to manage a film’s paper towel budget across the entire film industry. With the studio set to take a hit of more than $1 billion, it’s safe to say Rian Johnson will never be allowed to direct another Star Wars movie if this is what his vision ends up costing.