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Old February 27 2012, 08:31 PM   #31
Greg Cox
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Never read or seen Twilight and I have no desire to do so.
That's fine. You're probably not the target demographic.

But it's definitely a huge pop culture phenomenon that has inspired countless imitators. (Just wander through the YA aisles at any bookstore . . . .)
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Old February 27 2012, 08:41 PM   #32
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

It's Harry Potter.

Between the massive mainstream success of both the books and movies, it's the obvious choice. People who don't even read were devouring the books within days and going to massive release parties. Every release was a genuine cultural event. It captured virtually EVERY demographic. I think people have started to forget exactly how massive Harry Potter fever was. Hogwarts, Dumbledore, etc, make a reference to them in any social situation and guaranteed at least somebody knows what you're talking about.
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Old February 27 2012, 08:43 PM   #33
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

DarthTom wrote: View Post
Holdfast wrote: View Post
Blockbusters will still happen, franchises will still bloom, but their impact craters fill in much more rapidly with new materia.
I think your looking at the question through the prism of being a sci-fi fan rather than what is universally popular. Wars is definately one of the most popular franchises of all time - but Potter not only hit box office records but is one of the best selling works of fiction ever.

I think SW is without a doubt in terms of sci-fi one of the biggest impacts to the genre. However, Potter accross all age groups and that its been successful both on screen and in books eclipses Wars in terms of its cultural impact.

The books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have also given rise to the popular film adaptations produced by Warner Bros., all of which have been highly successful in their own right.[4][92] The films have in turn spawned eight video games and have led to the licensing of more than 400 additional Harry Potter products (including an iPod). The Harry Potter brand has been estimated to be worth as much as $15 billion.[12]
Do people still talk about Potter though? I'm asking genuinely; I'm not in the demographic to know. What I mean is Potter was clearly truly huge, that much is obvious even to someone like me outside it. But how much of that was reliant on a constant refreshing of enthusiasm through new books and movies? Now that those have died down, will it be sustained over 20-30 years? I've no doubt the books will continue to be popular but once the buzz of new material fades further, they'll have to compete with all the pre-existing children's classic franchises: Narnia, LOTR, etc, etc.

I don't know whether they'll retain the massive cultural impact in 20-30 years time, in the way Star Wars and (to a slightly lesser extent) Star Trek has. Look at the Matrix: everyone and their uncle was quoting from that back in the day, and now no-one really talks about it any more. That's what I mean when I wonder if the age of the culturally-massive franchise is over.

I would agree that Potter currently seems to be the closest to SW in recent times, though. But we'll need another 20-30 years to be sure.

The poster above me rightly says:

Stone_Cold_Sisko wrote: View Post
. I think people have started to forget exactly how massive Harry Potter fever was.
The thing is, I'm not sure people have started to forgot how massive Star Wars still is. It's the gold standard by which media franchise success/impact is measured. Plus, Lucasfilm is very careful about nurturing and protecting the franchise. It'll be interesting to see how Rowling, her publishers, and WB manage Potter over the decades to come.
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Old February 27 2012, 09:04 PM   #34
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

Holdfast wrote: View Post
[Do people still talk about Potter though? I'm asking genuinely; I'm not in the demographic to know. What I mean is Potter was clearly truly huge, that much is obvious even to someone like me outside it. But how much of that was reliant on a constant refreshing of enthusiasm through new books and movies? Now that those have died down, will it be sustained over 20-30 years? I've no doubt the books will continue to be popular but once the buzz of new material fades further, they'll have to compete with all the pre-existing children's classic franchises: Narnia, LOTR, etc, etc.
Over the holidays I visited Universal Studio's Orlando Florida theme park and the Potter portion of the park was the most crowded by 10 fold.

It doesn't get as much talk as the hype up to last summer's movie but it's still there.

If Rowling is smart she'll relinquish some of her control over the franchise and allow others to write prequels and sequels.

I'm betting though that Rowling won't easily give away her pen to someone else though on the franchise just as Lucas was reluctant to do.

One thing you have to give Trek credit for is encouraging fans to write fiction and even create their own fan shows which helped keep the love affair with the franchise alive.
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Old February 27 2012, 09:38 PM   #35
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

Sorry-my answer is NOTHING. Star Wars pasted itself right across American society in a way HP/LOTR/Avatar can never do. The products are watered down with competition-NOTHING can hold so much of the public's eye nowadays the way SW did/does. Its copied/parodied/cited endlessly, as often out of context as in. My 5 year old has a bday coming. I asked him what he wanted and he answered, "A puppy. And a light saber." Think about it-anyone born the day SW first released is 35 years old. A whole generation grew up under its influence. Only ST and Bond hold similar positions in our Western society. Can I quote from HP? Nope. Avatar? Nope. But I can easily quote from Bond: "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" and I've never even seen the movie Goldfinger. SW/ST quotes abound, of course, as well. Point is, those 3 franchises have wormed their way in to our society on every level. I don't think any more modern product has or can do the same. Not saying they aren't popular-but they are too diffused to end up with similar results.
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Old February 27 2012, 10:21 PM   #36
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

T'Girl wrote: View Post

You might be missing out on something you would enjoy.
I tried to convince myself of that when my wife talked me into going to see the first film...
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Old February 27 2012, 10:28 PM   #37
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

Mistral wrote: View Post
Sorry-my answer is NOTHING. Star Wars pasted itself right across American society in a way HP/LOTR/Avatar can never do.
Most kids I meet IRL who give a damn about such things (remarkable numbers of young people actually don't expend much emotional energy on movies and TV, you know) are not particularly interested in Star Wars. Harry Potter has been a much bigger deal in their lives.

Avatar is likely to have the most long-term effect on the way movies are made - perhaps closer to SW in that respect than HP is - but that's not quite what was asked.
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Old February 28 2012, 10:57 PM   #38
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Harry Potter

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
I think HP has had the closest cultural impact to Star Wars. In terms of public consciousness, interest in each installment and range of merchandising it feels the closest to me of any franchise.
Holdfast wrote: View Post
Do people still talk about Potter though? I'm asking genuinely;
I would agree that Potter currently seems to be the closest to SW in recent times, though. But we'll need another 20-30 years to be sure.
I think you two have convinced me that HP currently has the closest cultural impact rather than LOTR. Yes each book for HP has had major buzz and lines outside bookstores as well as people dressing up to goto the movie premieres.
It'll be interesting to see how Rowling, her publishers, and WB manage Potter over the decades to come.
Well it's not like the 8 HP films can be remastered to 4k or 8k UHDTV. The VFX were rendered and the digital intermediates were done at 2K resolution.
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Old February 28 2012, 11:44 PM   #39
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

I think that here in the fan echo chamber we feel these things have a much greater impact out among the mundanes than they really do... I'd judge a question like this not on movie and book sales in a few years but in things like how much of it has made it into the common vernacular. Give the prevalence of terms like "warp drive" and "beam me up" [not to mention Shatner's Priceline-and-beyond career arc lol] I'd say you could argue that it was Star Wars trying [and succeeding] to catch up to Star Trek's influence. We'll see if terms like "Muggle" and "Quidditch" have that kind of legs over time.

Just like it always cheers me that every generation of college kids since the 70s still appreciates Dark Side of the Moon.
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Old February 29 2012, 04:59 AM   #40
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

The difference between Harry Potter and Star Trek or Star Wars is that JK Rowling isn't milking the franchise the way Roddenberry or Lucas did. She's shut down future production, says there's no more sequels, no prequels, and she's moved on to other projects.

If she'd decided to write a prequel series about Dumbledore, and authorized a Hogwarts cartoon series, you'd be seeing new Potterverse for the next 2 decades easily.

Potter has had easily as much cultural impact as Star Trek or Star Wars, and I'd argue that in it's time frame it has had more. Toys, Hogwarts robes, action figures, board games, video games, but more than that, just mention "Dumbledore" or "Snape" to someone, as in "My professor follows the Snape theory of teaching" and anyone will immediately get what you are talking about. That isn't true of the Matrix, it's not true of Twilight.

I'd say "tier two" would be Buffy; most people would understand a reference to the main character, even they hadn't paid attention to the show, and the show had a huge impact on what came after. I'd argue it spawned Twilight and to some extent the Zombie resurgance; it made the undead cool and interesting.

I think the Marvel universe could be argued as being bigger than Star Trek, Star Wars or Potter. Active since the 60's, it caught the attention of college and university students when comics were just for kids. It's covered every medium. Paul McCartney wrote songs about it. There are conventions with fans dressed up in costume. Why I would put it ahead of DC is because Marvel has marketed the the universe through the latest movies, all tied in and leading to the Avengers, which DC didn't do. The universe is a coherent whole even in minds of the casual viewer. Meanwhile they successfully market the coherent universe to kids as young as 4 with Super Heroe Squad. I think they've pulled off the integration of their entire universe into the mass market and varied media in an increadibly successful way.

That doesn't mean that their movies, comics, or action figures are the best, but I'd argue they've put their world into the minds of more people, more successfully.
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Old February 29 2012, 01:51 PM   #41
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

I'm among the few then who wouldn't get all Potter references. Muggle, got that one.
Snape? No clue.
I haven't seen one movie in the series.
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Old February 29 2012, 03:42 PM   #42
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

Love it or hate it, I would say that "The Simpsons" has had a significant cultural impact. Hell, a few years ago they even added the word "D'oh" into the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
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Old February 29 2012, 05:02 PM   #43
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

TemporalFlux wrote: View Post
Love it or hate it, I would say that "The Simpsons" has had a significant cultural impact. Hell, a few years ago they even added the word "D'oh" into the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
You raise a very good point. The Simpsons has endured and wormed its way into our culture. Cowabunga!
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Old February 29 2012, 05:24 PM   #44
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

The only way to answer this is to wait as long as Star Wars has been around and then gauge the impact of all the shows mentioned here.
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Old February 29 2012, 08:11 PM   #45
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Re: What franchise has had the closest cultural impact since Star Wars

jefferiestubes8 wrote: View Post
Holdfast wrote: View Post
It'll be interesting to see how Rowling, her publishers, and WB manage Potter over the decades to come.
Well it's not like the 8 HP films can be remastered to 4k or 8k UHDTV. The VFX were rendered and the digital intermediates were done at 2K resolution.
Potter, back in theatres, now in 4D Holovision!

LaxScrutiny wrote: View Post
The difference between Harry Potter and Star Trek or Star Wars is that JK Rowling isn't milking the franchise the way Roddenberry or Lucas did.
That's what I was getting at upthread, yes. I wouldn't see it as milking though; that has a negative connotation that isn't necessarily justified. I'd see it as managing the brand/franchise to find the sweet spot between income vs quality. Sure, both ST and SW have had a lot of valueless merchandising each, but they've also both put out a lot of good material over the decades. If you want to create a lasting cultural impact, I think that managing the franchise in this way is important.

Whether Rowling wants to do this is, I suppose, the question. I'm sure WB, Bloomsbury, et al would not be averse to extending the franchise where possible.

I think the Marvel universe could be argued as being bigger than Star Trek, Star Wars or Potter. Why I would put it ahead of DC is because Marvel has marketed the the universe through the latest movies, all tied in and leading to the Avengers, which DC didn't do. The universe is a coherent whole even in minds of the casual viewer.
I'd disagree with the way the last sentence is phrased. I don't think the casual viewer necessarily sees the presence of characters from other movies as meaning they're all part of a grand universe. More "Hey that's cool, they got Iron Man (or whoever) into this one too". Slightly different emphasis to yours, though it doesn't take away from the good point that comics have had a big cultural influence beyond those who read them with any regularity.

TemporalFlux wrote: View Post
Love it or hate it, I would say that "The Simpsons" has had a significant cultural impact. Hell, a few years ago they even added the word "D'oh" into the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
That's a good addition to the thread. Plus, the Simpsons has been around long enough to have stood the test of time in terms of impact. While we're on the subject of cartoon franchises, the impact of the Looney Tunes and the Disney characters has got to be worth considering in the context of the thread too. Who doesn't know who Bugs or Mickey are?

There's also a wider point to be made about the difference between Brand Recognition and Cultural Impact, though obviously there's an overlap between the two. Star Wars influenced not just its own genre but the whole nature of a blockbuster action movie in some fundamental ways that were carried forward by others.

It would be interesting to consider whether/how some of hte other brands being discussed have done so e.g. Potter, Marvel, Simpsons, etc.
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