Having said that merchandising was a HUGE part in the decision making factor of the prequels (and even ROTJ hence the Ewoks). I know for a fact (this quote came from GL's son to me in private) that the reason the prequels all had a different villain, that the clones have so many darn colors, etc was merchandising. It was literally thought up at the time.
I wouldn't disagree. But this was the mid-90s. It really doesn't have anything to do with 80s WWF or SW getting release in 1977.
So it might not have been a factor in merchandising then but it sure as heck is now.
No one is arguing that. Hell, those shitty prequels were one of the first movies to push the shit out of ad campaign tie-ins with places like Burger King, which we see all the time now.
But again... that's the 90s and 00s, not the 70s.
I guarantee if John Cena sold ZERO action figures next year, he'd be sent down the card faster than Zach Ryder.
This is 2013. Hogan was 1984.
Those things didn't START with SW or 80's WWF (well in the later case I would argue they did, merch pre Hogan was not terribly important) but it was a massive massive increase.
I keep saying in this thread, as I have for more than a decade online: Vince didn't always innovate, but he usually did things better. We'll take something that hasn't been discussed in the thread, and isn't relevant to the 80s but makes the point:
Vince didn't innovate turning wrestling television into Big Money Making TV Content. While Vince may have made money over the years with some of his deals like SNME or Primetime / Early Raw, it wasn't a cash cow nor a major focus on his business in terms of making money. It was still there to get people to buy the stuff that mattered: house shows and PPV / Closed Circuit. The folks who innovated in the US on that was Eric Bischoff and the Turner folks. Nitro and later Thunder were cash cows with loads of revenue coming into the Corporate coffers, a chunk of which were tossed into the Wrestling books. It's why over time the company focused so much attention on TV: it wasn't just the egofuck of beating Vince (though that was a big part), but Wrestling Content was a massive boon to TNT (and TBS) due to those prime time ratings. 1 hour to 2. 2 hours to 3. 2 additional hours on Thursday. They weren't creating that extra time just to sell house shows and PPV: it was to sell Television Time.
Vince got that, followed that lead, and when he got his TV feet back under him, went on the same expansion plan and made a killing in revenue off television. To this day it remains a central element of the company.
Vince might pat himself on the head for inventing that. He didn't. He just ended up doing it better than anyone else.
It's a point I made with JVK but it's not usually the first success that changes things. Hollywood didn't get on the horror bandwagon in the 30's until Frankenstein, which was the second hit. Comic book movies didn't start coming everywhere till Spiderman which was after Xmen.
This to me is an overstatement. Comic book movies have been out there your entire life. I'd disagree that Spidey was an important moment, but it hardly was earth changing.
Marvel's properties are, and still are, spread out:
Fox: X-Men, Fantastic Four, and other smaller projects like Daredevil & Electra
Columbia: Spider-Man and jobbers like Ghost Rider
Marvel: Avengers univers, along with everything they've been able to hold onto / regain
Spidey didn't have anything do to with Fox doing X2 and Daredevil: those were in the works before Spidey came out. X-Men's success made Fox want to invest into the properties they had. Over time, X has been the only thing they've been able to sell. Of course they're going to reboot Fantastic Four, but we all know that as soon as Avengers took off.
Dittos with Ang Lee's Hulk: that was a project in the works for more than a decade, harking back to the 1989 Batman era and folks trying figure out how to get in on that. Lee got involved in it more than a year before Spidey was released, and shooting began before Spidey was released.
In turn, Spidey didn't have much to do with the Superman and Batman franchises. They're Warner's baby, and they were always going to cough out more rather than have the rights revert back to DC. The success of not just Spidey, but the entire genre including X-Men, made them go back in during the mid-00's. Hell, Warner lifted Singer from the X-Men series to reboot Superman.
Marvel Studios is a different beast. It's drive to produce movies itself was more than just Spidey: it was the fact that Marvel wasn't raking in as much money off the X-Men and Spidey movies as they thought they should given their ownership of the base characters. So self product, and keep more of the cash. Smart.
Spidey had a big impact. But it was a piece of various balls in the air that got us to where we are now. A big one, but there were other big ones as well.
So to be clear the Star Wars trilogy didn't create the summer blockbuster. Adolf Hitler didn't create Nazism either. But he darn sure had more of an impact than Von Gobineau or Houston Stewart Chamberlain or Dietrich Eckhart or Anton Drexler either. Likewise those 3 movies had a huge impact on summer blockbusters. There were summer blockbusters before SW. (Jaws being the most famous example). But I would argue SW was the most important summer blockbuster of all time. Because it made a TON of money and cemented in the general public's limited view that the summer was blockbuster time.
I live through it. SW didn't really stamp on our views that Summer = Blockbuster. You can look at the other big movies of 1977, and the big movies of 1978 and the big movies of 1979 and the big movies of 1980, and it really wasn't a case of Summer = Blockbuster. There very much was still a split between them coming out in Summer and in Fall/Winter.
Trust me... Summer = Blockbuster was an 80s thing when it completely took off.
That's coming from someone who saw SW more than 20+ times that summer it came out.
And to your other broad point, I don't get defensive in the slightest when people knock 80's WWF. In my group of wrestling friends I'm almost always the first one to suggest Mid South or JCP or Memphis or something different whereas they want to pop in an old Coliseum Video. You basically made a point saying most people are idiots. Well yeah they can be a lot of the time. Unfortunately there's more of them and they can dictate a lot.
And yes not every expert was out to get 80's WWF. Meltzer was in that era but you're right. I never said you hadn't credited Hogan and co for their success.
Meltzer was/is Meltzer, and most hardcores in the 80s hated the WWF. I certainly did back them. But...
That was then, this is now. There have always been hardcores online, and all of us who were online back in the mid-90s certainly ran into them. There were people who loved the WWF and hated WCW, people who loved WCW and hated the WWF, those kooky ECW fans over in the corner, and those elitist snob puroresu fans getting off on their own stuff and looking down their nose at everyone else.
Now? There are plenty of people online who like 80s WWF. There are big long threads about it all over the web. There were polls on sites that have long since disappeared where 80s WWF stood toe-to-toe with the more praised 90s and 00s WWF and frankly did pretty well, with people liking both.
It's well past the time that people stop tossing out the "Elitist Snob" crap at people who don't think 80s WWF is all that great. People like what they like, and dislike what they dislike for whatever reasons they have. That goes for any promotion or wrestlers.
I really hate watching the 1998 and 1999 Misawa-Kobashi matches. I'd rather watch a random Triple H match... and I fucking HATE Triple H.
Now if some All Japan fan read that comment and responded by saying:
"You must be one of those rubes who hates All Japan and puroresu."
Well... that person would be a dumb ass.
People like what they like, don't like what they don't like, stop thinking it's because they're Elitists or Rubes. They just happen to not like what you like, or vice versa. More often than any of us care to think, they might just be right and the shit is better/worse than we think it is.
As to that old house show cards issue my only point was that WWF ran 3 shows, Crockett one most of the time. That gave him a huge edge in a more focused house show lineup with storyline backed matches. His big cards also had fewer matches, again a huge edge in making each match important. But on any given night after 87 the WWF had usually almost as many or as many "Feud" based matches as Crockett did in total.
That's all stuff we covered when the topic came up. We looked it in a variety of ways, and from every angle. The person making the claim just happened to be dead wrong.
I even admitted my original Kane reference was idiotic. Kane was a huge flop that nearly ruined RKO and Orson Welles (TMA finished him off there). That was a quick facile thing to compare it too. Gone with the Wind I am more comfortable. I'd say Wizard of Oz but actually it took nearly 20 years for that movie to really make money.
Hard to tell. GWTW was a commercial and critical success at the time it came out. WWF 80s was a commercial success... and a critical flop at the time. It's only in the years sense that it's gotten better critical notice. I'd have to think of an equiv on that aspect: slow critical acknowledgement. It's not gotten the praise of Kane: at the end of the 80s DVDVR Project if they did a Top 200 of matches, the WWF is going to get less representation than a number of other promotions. So we'd have to find something that was critically savaged at the time of release, was a hit, and then 20-30+ years later people took another look and thought, "This actually is good. Maybe not GREAT~!, but it's not a bad movie at all."
And the Jazz Singer, well that wasn't as huge a change. The movie wasn't all sound, it took a few years and a few dozen successful sound movies for Hollywood and mainstream America to get on board with sound. It always take Hollywood a few hits to back anything really.
The Jazz Singer was a change in this sense: No Sound before, Sound after.
And that's basically what the WWF in the 80s was: No National Promotion before, National Promotions after.
It took a while for JCP to go National, but it did and in a sense had to in some way or it wouldn't have survived. Watts made a stab at going national before his company went under. The promotions that stayed territories eventually all died.
Your points about SW and Reagan though seem to be a variation on the "you can't understand something you haven't lived through". Speaking as a history teacher than darn sure would put us all out of business fast. And I don't really agree with it that much anyway. I didn't mean to imply that everyone in Reagan's America believed what he did. But Vince I think did and promoted that same basic belief system through Hogan.
Well... I was getting my history degree exactly during Hogan's first reign, so I kind of get history a bit.
Hogan as a babyface really wasn't any different from loads of babyfaces who came before him. Reagan's America really had very little to do with it. Heels were bad, some of them did bad things to Hogan and he was after vengeance, and some of them were chasing the belt and Hogan was going to keep it. Hogan-Orndorff really wasn't an embodiment of the Reagan Era. Paul felt slighted. Paul struck out. Paul listened to bad people. Hogan went for payback. It's the type of thing that had been going on in heel turns for decades.
Did Vince wrap Hogan in the Flag? Real American nonsense? Sure. But that had been going on for ages in pro wrestling. Hell, it wasn't even central to Hogan as a champ as the majority of his opponents happened not to be Evil Foreigners.
Say your prayers and take you vitamins? That crap had been around long before RR, and has been around long after. It really wasn't an RR thing, no matter how much goofballs like the Moral Majority thought it was.
Really... you're reading far too much into Hogan.
It's just that when you compare Smokey to 80's WWF I laugh. Smoky was a time piece that was a hit, was fun and had really zero impact on its broader business. 80's WWF had a much bigger impact on pro wrestling. I would say in that way SW as a game changer is the better comparison.
That's not an unreasonable way to look at it.
I was going more for Smokey be from a pedestrian genre, being rather simplistic in it's goals and execution, not really going for anything terribly broad artistically or thematically, not taking itself seriously, being rather cliched, generally dismissed as low brow... but both wildly successful, perfectly entertaining, and when reflecting back on it was a pretty good movie for what it was.
No one thought the WWF was an Oscar nominee for churning out Best Matches. No one thought Smokey was either.
SW got 10 Oscar nomination, including the three big non-acting ones: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. It won 6 of them, and got a 7th special award because people were so blown away with an element of making it. It was a massive commercial hit... and it was a massive critical hit as well.
Granted, anyone who knows anything about the movie kind of laughs in hindsight at Lucas getting nominations for Director and Screenplay.
But they are reflective of folks being blown away by the shit on a critical level at the time.
The WWF in the 80s? Not so much.
That was my analogy to Smokey. I'm sure we can some up with others.