‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Holds Off ‘The Revenant’ for Fourth Box Office Win

     January 10, 2016

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The battle for first place at the weekend box office was a little closer than expected, but according to current estimates Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains the number one film in North America. That makes four consecutive wins for Star Wars 7, which became the highest-grossing movie in domestic box office history earlier this week. According to Disney, The Force earned an additional $41.6 million this weekend, representing a drop of 54% from one week ago. Though a steeper decline than initially predicted, this weekend’s estimate puts the North American total for The Force Awakens well over $800 million – the first movie in history to hit that milestone.

While Star Wars 7 has pretty much captured every domestic record it was eligible for, the film’s chance to snag the global record remains hard to predict. One big mystery was how the film would play in China: the second largest movie market in the world but a country where the original Star Wars trilogy was not available until very recently. After finally opening in China on Saturday, Disney is reporting that The Force Awakens earned an estimated $33 million. That’s on par with the first day of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is a good sign considering that film went on to earn almost $250 million in China alone.

The all-time worldwide record is Avatar’s staggering $2.788 billion, 72% of which came from international markets. By comparison, The Force Awakens now totals $1.73 billion worldwide, with 53% in overseas grosses. That total is enough for TFA to overtake Jurassic World as the number three movie in global history.

revenant-poster-leonardo-dicaprioAfter defeating The Force on Friday, The Revenant fell to second on the weekend chart with an estimated $38 million from 3,375 locations. As we told you yesterday, the survival drama blew away its pre-release projection of $19-$20 million thanks to strong reviews and word of mouth, including a B+ CinemaScore. The Revenant also opened a bit higher than Lone Survivor, which debuted on the same weekend in 2013 with a perfect A+ CinemaScore.

The weekend’s sole new release (The Revenant started in limited release on Christmas Day) was The Forest. The PG-13 horror movie has earned scathing reviews (12% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a C from CinemaScore audiences. Even so, The Forest ended up topping industry expectations with an estimated $13 million launch from 2,451 locations. The film was projected to open around $9 million, which would have put it on par with Devil’s Due, Fox’s R-rated horror pic from January 2014. But instead, The Forest opened more in line with Woman in Black 2, which saw a $15 million debut last January.

Among holdovers, most titles experienced declines following the end of the official holiday season. Daddy’s Home and Sisters both saw drops of over 43%, though each continues to play above expectations. The same does not hold true for The Hateful Eight, which fell 59% in its sophomore frame despite adding 464 new locations to its theatre count. The weekend’s best hold was -30% for The Big Short, which added 941 venues in advance of its expected Best Comedy win at this weekend’s Golden Globes.

Looking ahead, the box office reign of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is destined to come to an end next weekend. The new number one film should be Ride Along 2, the sequel to the hit buddy comedy. Ride Along set a new record for January when it opened with $41.5 million on the same frame in 2014 – though that record was crushed one year later by American Sniper. Ride Along 2 is expected to outperform its predecessor (like a good sequel should) with over $45 million. That means you can expect to see Star Wars 7 in second or even third place by this time next week.

Until then, savory the victory one last time:

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens $41,630,000 $812
2.  The Revenant $38,000,000 $39.5
3.  Daddy’s Home $15,000,000 $116.3
4.  The Forest $13,088,000 $13
5.  Sisters $7,170,000 $74.8
6.  The Hateful Eight $6,351,000 $41.4
7.  The Big Short $6,300,000 $42.8
8.  Alvin & the Chipmunks 4 $5,500,000 $75.6
9.  Joy $4,500,000 $46.5
10.  Concussion $3,050,000 $30.9
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Image via Universal Pictures

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