It’s official: George Lucas has proven that he has lost his mind. Or, perhaps more correctly, his mind is so bereft of any good ideas that it is just not worth exploring any further. His newest fantasy film- which he billed as “From The Mind of George Lucas“- has earned a distinction is in it’s second week that no film ever wants to see. Strange Magic broke records as having the lowest box office ticket sales ever for a film in major release. To put this in perspective, this film opened lower than the previous worst animated film openings for The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002) and Quest for Camelot (1998), making Lucas’ mind-film the worst animated film of all time.
Strange Magic also has the unenviable honor of no becoming the 7th-worst opening for any film playing in 3000+ theaters. It is also the lowest gross take for any animated film ever opening into 3000+ theaters, but over one-half million dollars. The total take for the LucasFilm turkey- only 5.5 million dollars. This seems to prove the thesis that the Prequels were not a fluke and that his last good idea was letting someone else direct The Empire Strikes Back.
Disney obviously knew Lucas’ film was going to be a turkey as they did not even announce the film they inherited when they bought LucasFilm until the very last minute. Releasing this film may have even been a quid quo pro for Disney’s buying the studio; some say that George wanted this film out in wide release and LucasFilms sale was contingent on that. Disney hid this film at Touchstone for distribution, an outlet it uses to hide animated films it has very little faith in.
Lucas is said to have worked on this film for the last fifteen years, as a labor of love. He said, “Star Wars was for 12-year-old boys; I figured I’d make one for 12-year-old girls.”
By all accounts, the animation is incredibly well realized. Modeling, lighting and textures push the envelope of computer animation. The acting itself left much to be desired; it can be rather hard to expect decent acting for the one-dimensional characters in this film. The story plodded along predictably, and reminded us more of the direct-to-video Barbie series than the heir apparent to the Star Wars franchise. A film, no matter how beautiful cannot carry the lack of an engaging and intelligent storyline.
Another animated film, Paddington, is in it’s second week of release and placed third overall over the weekend. It beat Strange Magic handily with 12.4 million in ticket sales.