March Madness movie tournament: Star Wars universe and round of 32

The NCAA tournaments are canceled but that doesn't mean the bracket-bustin' has to stop. Onto the round of 32 as we look at the top box office winners of the last four decades.

It was inevitable that films from the Star Wars universe would be eliminated from this tournament early on.

Losing a number-one seed in the first round, however, was not something I quite predicted as Star Wars: The Force Awakens was eliminated right out of the gate in the 2010-2019 region. The film fell behind early and couldn't quite compete the comeback during the 24-hour voting period, falling to Toy Story 4 by one vote.

All told, four of the eight films in this tournament from the Star Wars universe were eliminated in the opening round. One elimination was always going to be a given as The Last Jedi squared off against The Rise of Skywalker (winner: The Last Jedi, by a comfortable five votes). Another, The Phantom Menace, I assumed would be a first-round upset as the second-seed in the 1990-1999 region. And it was, falling to Beauty and the Beast (the animated version).

Also dropping from the tournament was Revenge of the Sith, which was on the losing end in the 2000-20009 region to Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Rogue One joined The Last Jedi in advancing on to the round of 32.

Since the arrival of Star Wars: A New Hope back in 1977, Star Wars films have had a firm grip on the box office. Even in the more recent years, as this fictional film universe has expanded and voices of dissent got louder, the films continued to rise up the box office charts.

Only three in this film universe failed to crack this tournament. A New Hope was outside of the scope of this tournament. Solo and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones each raked in the dough but not enough to crack the top-16 in each region.

Now, it's down to four. Are we headed to a Star Wars vs Marvel final? Will an animated film carry the weight? Find out as voting continues Monday to see who advances to the sweet 16.

1980-1989 region

This region was the region in which all of the higher-seeded films advanced, sans one. And there were plenty of routs, as E.T. secured a victory with 100 percent of the votes, while Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark each had over 90 percent of the votes in their matches.
  • (1) E.T.
  • (8) Back to the Future
  • (5) Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • (4) Batman
  • (6)Ghostbusters
  • (3) Empire Strikes Back
  • (10) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • (2) Return of the Jedi

1990-1999 region

Outside of the aforementioned upset loss of The Phantom Menace, there were no other lower seeds to advance. All won fairly comfortably so it will be interesting to see what transpires in the round of 32.
  • (1) Titanic
  • (8) Home Alone
  • (5) Forest Gump
  • (4) Jurassic Park
  • (6) Independence Day
  • (3) The Lion King (animated)
  • (7) The Sixth Sense
  • (15) Beauty and the Beast (animated)

2000-2009 region

In a scene reminiscent of the 2018 men's NCAA tournament, lower seeds rose to the occasion. This included the second "16 over 1" upset of the tourney, with Iron Man taking down Avatar. And Spider-Man -- of the Tobey Maguire variety -- defeating Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was an upset in my eyes, even though the former had the higher seed.
  • (16) Iron Man
  • (9) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
  • (5) Spider-Man (2002)
  • (4) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • (11) Passion of the Christ
  • (3) Shrek 2
  • (7) Finding Nemo
  • (2) Dark Knight

2010-2019 region

Otherwise known as the Marvel/Star Wars/Pixar bracket. Or, in a broader sense, the Disney region. Black Panther and The Avengers picked up the easiest wins, each garnering over 90 percent of the vote in their victories. 
  • (16) Toy Story 4
  • (9) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • (5) Jurassic World
  • (4) Avengers: Infinity War
  • (6) The Avengers
  • (3) Black Panther
  • (7) Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • (2) Avengers: Endgame
Voting begins on Monday (March 16) for the 1980's and 1990's regions. Tuesday will see the 2000's and 2010's in action. In each you have 24 hours to vote.

Voting will be on Twitter (@jasonrh_78). Facebook doesn't have the "polls" option anymore so feel free to leave comments on your favorite(s) if you don't have a Twitter. 

I'll see you at the polls!

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