As everyone expected, ‘Star Wars’ crushed the competition at the box office this weekend. It also shattered 12 opening records in the process.
This summer, ‘Jurassic World‘ set the record for all-time highest-grossing domestic opening with $208.8 million. That was short-lived. The bar has now been raised to nearly unreachable heights. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ debuted to $238 million (domestically) this weekend. The records for Thursday night previews, Friday showings, three-day weekend, domestic IMAX and international IMAX were among those broken. It was the quickest movie to reach $100 million and the highest-grossing December movie of all time. At 4,134 locations, it set a per-screen average of $57,571 – a new high for a nationwide release. And it did all that in just three days. If it continues at this pace, ‘Episode VII’ is estimated to bow with approximately $800 million in domestic revenue, which would also be a new domestic high.
While the overseas numbers were still massive, ‘The Force Awakens’ couldn’t topple those set by ‘Jurassic World’. The international kick-off of ‘Jurassic World’ resulted in $316.1 million, but ‘Episode VII’ only wrangled $279 million. Many territorial records were broken along the way, but the delayed opening in China (slated for January 9th, 2016) is the assumed to be the reason for the film’s inability to set a new international high.
Continuing to show the franchise’s decline in appeal, ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip‘ opened much lower than its predecessors. Far behind ‘Star Wars’, the Chipmunks squeaked into second place with $14.4 million. From 3,653 locations, that total and the $3,942 per-screen average may come across as a huge hit for Fox. With no other kids’ movies on the horizon, the holdover through the holidays is expected to be decent.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s reunion flick ‘Sisters‘ opened in third place with to a so-so $13.4 million. Playing on nearly 3,000 screens, the R-rated comedy saw a $4,531 per-screen average. Estimates signal that it should have long legs and bow around the $75 million mark, but I don’t see the math adding up – especially considering the poor quality of the movie.
In its fifth week, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2‘ was booted from the top spot by ‘Star Wars’. Its 50% drop and $5.6 million weekend bumped it down into the #4 spot. To date, the franchise finale has grossed $254.4 million domestically and $341.1 million overseas. It’s expected to cross the worldwide $600 million mark over this Christmas week.
Four-week-old ‘Creed‘ rounded out the Top 5 with an additional $5 million. To date, the $35 million ‘Rocky’ spin-off has earned $87.9 million domestically and $7.6 million overseas.
In its second week, Ron Howard’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea‘ was pulled under and drowned. The Moby Dick flick fell a gigantic 69% in attendance, grossed $3.4 million ($1,117 per screen) and dropped into eighth place. The film’s domestic total sits at $18.6 million and isn’t likely to get much higher than that. Overseas, it has made $49.6 million, but that’s not enough to keep it afloat.
Two Bollywood titles boldly opened against ‘Star Wars’ and impressively found themselves in the Top 10. ‘Diwale‘ and ‘Bajirao Mastani‘ wound up in the #9 and 10 spots respectively, with $1,875,000 and $1,660,000.
Sony Pictures Classics’ front-runner in the foreign language Oscar category, ‘Son of Saul‘, had a great limited opening. From just three locations, the Hungarian concentration camp film earned $38,891 and a per-screen average of $12,964.
Weekend numbers for ‘Extraction’ have yet to be announced.
1. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (Buena Vista) – $238,000,000
2. ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’ (Fox) – $14,400,000
3. ‘Sisters’ (Universal) – $13,420,000
4. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2’ (Lionsgate) – $5,650,000
5. ‘Creed’ (New Line) – $5,085,000
6. ‘The Good Dinosaur’ (Buena Vista) – $4,232,000
7. ‘Krampus’ (Universal) – $3,780,000
8. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ (Warner Bros.) – $3,465,000
9. ‘Diwale’ (UTV) – $1,875,000
10. ‘Bajirao Mastani’ (Eros) – $1,660,000