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Just as you can’t have a Sith master without a Sith apprentice, you apparently can’t have a new Star Wars trailer without Meet Joe Black. In a crazy cosmic coincidence, the 1998 Brad Pitt drama started trending on Twitter the day before the first teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiered at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago and blasted social media into hyperspace. Here’s why that’s so appropriate: 20 years ago, the first-ever trailer for Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace premiered in front of Meet Joe Black, giving the movie a notable box office bump... for a night, anyway. The Martin Brest-directed movie finished with a disappointing $44 million domestic gross.
So how did this largely forgotten movie re-enter our galaxy at the same time as Star Wars? Credit goes to Upright Citizens Brigade comedian, Rose O’Shea, who re-discovered the movie on Netflix and clipped its craziest scene for posterity.
Some context: Based on the 1934 film, Death Takes a Holiday, Meet Joe Black features Pitt as a young man who dies in a sudden, violent and unintentionally hilarious traffic accident only to return to Earth as the personification of Death. Once back on terra firma, Death promptly moves in with a billionaire (Anthony Hopkins) and his single daughter (Claire Forlani) and helps them sort through their personal issues.
Clocking in at nearly three hours, Meet Joe Black was largely ignored by critics and moviegoers upon its theatrical release in 1998, but O’Shea single-handedly brought it back to life on Twitter.
Meanwhile, critics who reviewed the movie the first time around took a moment to educate newbies about its shortcomings.
Unlike the Bird Box Challenge, Netflix’s Twitter account was only too happy to encourage the meme-ification of Meet Joe Black.
And, inevitably, the conversation circled back around to Star Wars, with many remarking on The Phantom Menace/Meet Joe Black connection as The Rise of Skywalker trailer took over Twitter.
Meet Joe Black is currently streaming on Netflix. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on Dec. 20.
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