Somehow the “Men’s Rights” advocates at the Return of Kings web site seem to think that the new Star Wars film, like Mad Max: Fury Road earlier last summer, is little more than social justice warrior propaganda. Like the Sad / Rabid Puppies before them, they assert that a modern-day creative media that is more balanced and inclusive somehow diminishes the male of the species or that men are somehow under attack from all sides.
On their web site, the group claimed victory for their boycott action after only six weeks of effort. From a single poll on Twitter under the hashtag #BoycotStarWarsVII, they claim they have had a direct monetary effect on the box office pulled in by Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the tune of $4,219,456.54.
Yes, they have this apparently worked out to the penny, with no direct access to theatrical box office reports.
Writing at the site, David Garrett asserts:
Fifty-five percent of respondents to a Return of Kings Twitter poll have said that online reporting of the social justice nature of The Force Awakens influenced their decision whether to see the film. Extended across our readership, with over 900,000 users accessing ROK between November 21 and December 21, this amounts to a potential direct impact of $4,219,456.54 (55% x $8.38 x 915,482) on total revenues.
We find ourselves agape at this number. It is an incredible amount of money, and we mean that in the most literal sense possible: the amount of money claimed as an impact from their hashtag campaign is not credible in the tiniest degree. They could not possibly have access to all the box office figures, theater by theater, to work out exactly what each was charging for tickets (and it does vary) and the regular customers for each who decided not to see the film as a result of Return of Kings’ hashtag. Secondly, the claim is based on a single statistic, the response to a single Twitter poll.
Pro-tip, guys: Twitter polls are notoriously inaccurate. They’re a good way to engage readership, but they don’t actually mean anything.
Now, assuming their claim is somehow magically accurate, let’s look at how big a ding they put in Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ car door: the film has made $740.3 million, and will speed past the $761 domestic box office of Avatar by next week. Globally, the Star Wars movie has accrued $1.51 billion since its debut on Dec. 18. It hasn’t even opened in China yet. And if this movie plays the way the last one did, it’s going to be in theaters for months while the theater chains milk every last nickel out of it.
Doing the math as of this morning, that makes the boycott impact out to be — ready for this? — 0.000281%. Lost in the zeroes? That’s 2.8 hundredths of a percent.
As embarrassed as we are for their self-inflected pain via their own testosterone poisoning, the Twitter community had a field day. Here are some of the quotes:
So, they failed at #BoycottStarWarsVII and now they’ve formed #VanillaIsis and stolen a duck city?
— Brett (@brettness37) January 4, 2016
Those #BoycottStarWarsVII guys sure showed Disney. Upset white racists, and your movie will struggle just to make $1 billion in 12 days.
— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) December 31, 2015
It’s not like Star Wars took place in an incredibly diverse galaxy with many alien species #BoycottStarWarsVII pic.twitter.com/buojQ3MDxN
— Colin Sullender (@shiruken) December 28, 2015
#BoycottStarWarsVII is an utter failure. I saw it twice…Would see again.
— R?? A????? (@Ray_Aldred) January 3, 2016
#boycottstarwarsvii Can you guys please boycott my indie film too?
— Albert Farnsworth (@DeathValleyAl) December 30, 2015
#boycottStarWarsEpisodeVII These people are ok with a 7′ tall guy covered in brown fur, but a Black man freaks them out? Seriously?
— lapopessa (@lapopessa) October 21, 2015
Perhaps the nice fellows at Return of Kings have learned something. We hope that something is, “if you are outraged over something nobody is outraged about, don’t expect a big social uprising.” Or perhaps, “if you end up somehow coming out to the public as massive douche bags, don’t double down.”