I have a question similar to this one.

The Big Bang Theory episode "The Opening Night Excitation" deals with the opening night of The Force Awakens.

In the episode, the Force Awakens is shown to be really well-received. The four big Star War fans love it, the non-science fiction fan "liked it, ok" and the hardcore Star Trek fan likes it more than he thought he would.

However, the episode was released December 17, 2015, meaning it was written and filmed way before the film's reception would have been known.

They couldn't just assume it would be good, because then they would seriously embarrass themselves if it wasn't.

Have any of the creators talked about how they knew most people would like it?

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    I'd guess that they just shot two versions of the "post-movie" scene: one where they liked it and another where they didn't. Given the number of screenings on December 17th, including a lot of midnight releases, outside of the USA, they'd have a reasonable idea of the general reaction to the movie by the time the episode aired. – Anthony Grist May 29 '16 at 13:07
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    They spent nearly 2 billion dollars advertising the film before it aired, including pre-screenings for over thirty focus groups. My guess is that it was viewed as a slam-dunk. – Valorum May 29 '16 at 13:10
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    @Valorum Out of curiosity, how does that compare to The Phantom Menace? – Anthony Grist May 29 '16 at 13:12
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    @AnthonyGrist - Much, much, much, much, much more. They started pre-marketing for TFA around a year before they'd even shot a frame of footage and started active marketing (interviews, twitter leaks, on-set pieces) almost a year before the film aired. That stuff is monumentally expensive – Valorum May 29 '16 at 13:14
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    @AnthonyGrist - By comparison, Fox did no focus-grouping for Phantom Menace and Lucas resisted showing any of their internal critics any of the film. He also actively resisted "studio notes" (basically memos about ways of improving the film), allegedly refusing to even acknowledge them. – Valorum May 29 '16 at 13:16

As @valoram said in the comments, the movie was heavily marketed. The indications were there since one year.

From Wikipeida:

Disney backed The Force Awakens with extensive marketing campaigns.[234][235] On November 28, 2014, Lucasfilm released an 88-second teaser trailer. It was screened in selected cinemas across the United States and Canada and in theaters worldwide in December 2014. It was also released on YouTube and the iTunes Store,[236] generating a record 58.2 million views on YouTube in its first week.

Hence the indication were very much there that the movie is going to be a hit.

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