Warner Bros initially projected that A Star is Born would open somewhere between $25-$30 million. That estimate has now moved. Some are saying it could go as high at $40 million, maybe even more. Presales have been strong. Word of mouth is strong. With that kind of combination, it’s been hard to gauge, which is a point some experts have been making - that already, ASIB is a win, and that there’s a lot of potential here for a very special number, a big number, not just this weekend but in the coming weeks. Because, as Sarah wrote in her review of the film, this is a crowd-pleaser. It’s that kind of classic Hollywood movie that tells you, in the first moments, that it’s OK to get swept away in the melodrama. If you’ve not seen it yet then, remember that this is a MELODRAMA, about people who are naturally melodramatic.
Melodrama requires some suspension of disbelief. Is it realistic that she goes out there and kills it the first ever time she performs, and in front of thousands of people? F-ck no. Do you WANT her to go out and kill it though? Of course. In the balance of what Duana’s been teaching us for years between “give them what they need, not what they want”, melodramas lean heavily on the “want”. What can elevate a melodrama, however, is just the right amount of “need” when you need it. And that’s why this particular story, that’s now been made four times, has maintained its relevance. It’s a story as old as time that may actually last for all time: the power of love and the cost of fame. In and of itself this is a story of “want” and “need”.
That’s why Rachel Marron and Frank Farmer could never work. Similarly, it’s why Rose lived and Jack died – and the “celebrity” in that situation was the ship itself. The stardom of the ship sank itself and the love that was on it. I’m invoking those two examples specifically because of the irresistible melodrama in both. And because, well, it’s been a while since that kind of melodrama took over the zeitgeist. I’m not saying that A Star is Born will occupy and share the space that those two films, which you don’t need me to name, have earned in the culture and I’m not sure that I agree that it should. Perhaps this is blasphemy. But there are common elements beyond the story. We’ve established the perpetual appeal of the melodramatic tragic romance. There’s also the superstar factor. And the crush factor. And of course there’s a song. Those two previous movies were carried in no small part by a song. You know those two songs. You will be able to sing along to those two songs for the rest of your life. Again, you don’t need me to name them. In the case of A Star is Born 2018, “Shallow” is the song that’s meant to remind you of Ally and Jack’s story every time you hear it. The soundtrack has now been released and is #1 in several countries. People are freaking over it on social media. And you are meant to listen to it over and over again to take you back to Ally and Jack. Will you though? Is it big enough? What will be the impact of A Star is Born? How will we be talking about it in a week?