I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I think jumping to this conclusion (“GE has low crowds because the Star Wars IP is tarnished”) is a big mistake. To me, this conclusion only agrees with and confirms everything Iger and Chapek have been doing.
I’ve always felt that IP is ultimately irrelevant when it comes to theme park attractions. IP doesn’t make an attraction inherently good, bad, popular, etc. I think the attraction itself accomplished those things. If Mystic Manor opened up in Magic Kingdom tomorrow, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be wildly successful. Because even though it has no recognizable characters or locations, it’s just a great ride.
I believe guests will always recognize a good ride, regardless of its form. I hate to bring Universal into this, but Fast and Furious was a disaster despite being one of the most profitable and widely recognized IPs in the world. Why? Because it was just a bad ride, and people saw that.
To me, if we come to the conclusion that the negative opinions around the Star Wars IP is impacting GE on such a level, we are only confirming what Iger and Chapek have said all along: IP is the single most important factor determining the success of any theme park attraction. And for now, until further evidence emerges to support their view, I’m just not buying that.
By the way, this is coming from a guy who absolutely adores GE and MF:SR. But right now, I’m being forced to consider the notion that maybe my opinion is the minority. Maybe guests just aren’t that impressed by Falcon, and don’t view it as enough to justify large scale excitement. Obviously it’s still too early to make any kind of judgment, but at the end of the day, I’m going judge the success of an attraction based on the attraction itself. Because I just don’t think an IP is so powerful that it could convince people to not show up to a great theme park.