Marketing force with Star Wars

Judging from the box office numbers, I might be one of the few people who have not yet seen “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Friends and family members who have seen it tell me it’s good. Some of them have even seen it multiple times.

I will see it at some point; I’m just not in any big hurry.

I enjoyed the first Star Wars film back in 1977 and its two sequels. I found the next three films in the series less enjoyable. I don’t even remember if I watched all three of them. The story got too complicated for me to follow, and I thought the films lacked the humor of the original trilogy.

So I guess I’d call myself a Star Wars fan, but a casual fan, not a get-dressed-up-and-wait-in-line-for-days fan.

But there’s no arguing that Star Wars has been one of the biggest cultural phenomena of the past 40 years. You might have to go somewhere like the remote jungles of the Amazon River to find folks who have never heard of Yoda, R2-D2 and Darth Vader.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the first release since creator George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney. In typical Disney fashion, the merchandising has been excessive, to say the least.

When it comes to overkill, I didn’t think anything could out-“Frozen” “Frozen,” Disney’s 2013 animated blockbuster. For the past two years it seemed I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the smiling faces of sisters Anna and Elsa, whether they were on toys, sheets or lunchboxes in stores, or a little girl’s T-shirt, backpack or winter coat.

But I underestimated Disney’s marketing machine. Even as stores are still trying to unload “Frozen” toys, clothing, bedding, music, books, etc., they’ve been inundated with enough Star Wars stuff to fill a Death Star.

If you can buy it, chances are you can purchase a Star Wars version of it. You can even buy a Darth Vader waffle iron and a Han Solo refrigerator.

Disney didn’t even wait for the movie to be released before flooding the market with all things Star Wars. The stores have been filled with stuff for months. Kids were asking Santa for toys featuring characters from the new film, BEFORE they even knew anything about these characters.

One of my granddaughters, whose mother was born the year the first film was released, used to be a huge fan of “Frozen” and had the merchandise to prove it.

But suddenly she’s “Let It Go” and is obsessed with all things Star Wars. She’s seen the new movie at least twice. Almost all of her Christmas gifts this year were Star Wars-related.

Perhaps her enthusiasm will wane over time. Or maybe she’ll grow up to be a get-dressed-up-and-wait-in-line-for-days fan.

One thing is for certain, however. We can expect to see Star Wars merchandise on store shelves for a long, long time.

There’s so much of it on the market, one wonders how Disney can possibly get rid of it all before “Frozen 2” hits theaters.