Wait, Where is the New Star Wars Trailer Premiering?

Curator's Note

Recently, many fans of Star Wars had to make an unexpected decision to watch the halftime of a football game or not. Taking advantage of newly acquired corporate synergy, Disney announced that the final trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) would premiere during halftime of ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Disney’s announcement spawned numerous tweets, memes and articles that portrayed Star Wars fans as frustrated to being forced to watch football to see the new trailer first, even though the announcement specified that the trailer would air at halftime, which is a roughly scheduled time during the telecast, allowing fans to monitor the game’s progress in real time, thus limiting or completely eliminating having to watch any of the actual game. Also, past precedent basically guaranteed that the trailer would be immediately uploaded after its debut.

The fan’s reaction to Disney's choice to premiere the highly-anticipated trailer on ESPN illustrates John Fiske’s expansion of Pierre Bourdieu’s concept that views “culture as an economy in which people invest and accumulate capital” to include popular culture.[1] Fiske bifurcates cultural capital into two: official cultural capital, Bourdieu’s notion of cultural capital, and popular cultural capital. The fans’ reaction to the trailer’s premiere location reveals that fans who believe they possess more popular culture capital think that they should be given first access to the trailer. Instead, Disney utilized the popularity of the Star Wars brand to increase the value of the Monday Night Football brand, exposing a consequence of media industry contraction is that media conglomerates will sometimes make decisions that will not cater to the fandom's preferences, exhibiting that the possession of more popular culture capital can be a hinderance. Disney's decision shows that they value revenue growth over the desires of the more ardent fans, knowing that their decision will not anger the fandom enough to not go see the film.


[1] Fiske, “The Cultural Economy of Fandom.”

Fiske, John. “The Cultural Economy of Fandom.” In The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, 30–49. Psychology Press, 1992.

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