Trivia

Hard

A Long Awaited Release in Which Film Franchise Is Estimated To Have Cost Millions In Productivity?

Star Trek
Star Wars
The Exorcist
Harry Potter
Movie poster artwork for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.
Lucasfilm/The Walt Disney Company

Answer: Star Wars

Any time a major and much anticipated film is released there will be, inevitably, some folks who call in sick to work, skip school, or otherwise put their daily responsibilities on hold to partake in watching the film. When it comes to the phenomenon of films prompting people to play hooky for a few hours in front of the silver screen, however, no other franchise can come close to the hold that Star Wars has over fans.

In May of 1999, the first new Star Wars film in 16 years, The Phantom Menace, was released. Even without the considerable amount of money sunk into promoting the film, tickets would have sold themselves. In fact, few other studios even bothered to release films the same week as The Phantom Menace, as they anticipated (accurately) that anything else would be deeply overshadowed by the new Star Wars film.

The turnout was so great for the film that many companies simply called the day a cultural holiday rather than deal with processing all the sick time and vacation requests. The employment consultation firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas estimated that 2.2 million full-time employees in the United States missed work on opening day, resulting in 293 million dollars in lost productivity.

Don’t think that excitement was just limited to the initial return of the long dormant franchise, either. In 2005 when Revenge of the Sith hit the screens, the lost productivity was estimated at a much higher 626.9 million dollars.

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