Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Close to All Time Record

     January 3, 2016


Star Wars: The Force Awakens added another $88.3 million in its third weekend, topping the previous record for a third frame by 29%. This morning’s estimate brings the film’s domestic total to $740.2 million in 17 days. While that is an amazing feat, The Force saw a steeper drop (-40.8%) and that leaves it short of the all-time domestic box office record. Once again, the number to beat is $760.5 million, set by Avatar in 2010, and it looks like it will take Star Wars at least another day to reach that.

All grosses reported by Disney since New Year’s Eve (Thursday) have been estimated rather than actual, but it’s safe to say that the studio would be thrilled to claim the record if it thought it had the numbers to back it up. As it is, waiting another day or two hardly diminishes the film’s box office achievements. Worldwide, The Force Awakens has earned $1.5 billion, though that does not include all international grosses from this weekend. At the moment the film stands at number seven in terms of global earnings – less than $6 million behind Furious 7.

Surprisingly, there are other movies playing in theatres this holiday season and a couple of them are even holding their own against the force. Most notable is Paramount’s Daddy’s Home, which claimed the number two spot with an estimated $29 million this weekend. That’s down just 25% from the comedy’s Christmas debut and brings the film’s domestic total to $93.6 million in ten days. The last Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy, The Other Guys, took almost a month to pass the same mark before ending with a final domestic total of $119.2 million.

the-hateful-eight-posterWe told you yesterday that The Hateful Eight started its nationwide run a bit below expectations, but even that revised weekend target of $17 million proved too high a bar for the R-rated Western. From 2,474 locations, The Hateful Eight earned an estimated $16.2 million, or a little over half what Tarantino’s Django Unchained earned in its debut weekend three years ago. To be fair, Django’s first weekend did follow a Christmas Day release (a Tuesday in 2012), and its critical reception was much stronger.

Sisters and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, both entering their third frames, took the fourth and fifth spots on the New Year’s chart. The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy has already surpassed the final domestic gross of their last feature film: Baby Mama from 2008. Sisters also realized one of the best holds among the top ten with a decline of just over 11%. Only Alvin and the Chipmunks held better at -10.2%. On the other hand, with a domestic total of $67.3 million after 17 days, the fourth installment in this G-rated series is still by far the lowest grossing of the franchise. 2011’s Chipwrecked had earned over $92 million at the same point in its run while Squeakquel amassed an astonishing $165.3 million in 17 days beginning in 2009.

The last of the Christmas Day holdovers, Joy and Point Break, were each down over 30% from their debuts one week ago. In the case of David O Russell’s Joy, the 39% drop was steeper than expected considering the film’s generally positive reviews and Golden Globes exposure. In terms of the remake of Point Break, which opened with a disappointing $9.8 million last weekend, nothing short of a tsunami of international receipts will be enough to justify the film’s $105 million budget at this point.

It looked like this weekend would end up as the highest-grossing New Year’s frame of all time. The record for the holiday is $220 million, set in 2010 when Avatar was at the height of its powers. That was also the last time that both Christmas and New Year’s Eve fell on a Friday, so it makes for an unusually convenient comparison. In the end, this weekend fell short of the all-time record by about $5 million. A stronger showing from The Hateful Eight would have bridged that gap, but I guess it’s hard to distinguish yourself with Star Wars in the mix.

Here’s this weekend’s top ten, based on studio estimates:

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens $88,300,000 $740.2
2.  Daddy’s Home $29,000,000 $93.6
3.  The Hateful Eight $16,240,000 $29.5
4.  Sisters $12,580,000 $61.7
5.  Alvin & the Chipmunks 4 $11,800,000 $67.3
6.  Joy $10,400,000 $38.7
7.  The Big Short $9,000,000 $32.9
8.  Concussion $8,000,000 $25.3
9.  Point Break (2015) $6,845,000 $22.4
10.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 $4,625,000 $274.2


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