Weekend Box Office: ‘Star Wars’ Is A Few Days From Breaking The All-Time Record Held By ‘Avatar’

Senior Editor
01.03.16 21 Comments


Star Wars: The Force Awakens
earned $88.3 million domestic this weekend (smashing the previous third-weekend record held by Avatar, with $68 million), bringing it to $740 million total. That’s just a shade shy of Avatar‘s record domestic box office total of $760.5 million. Analysts expect Star Wars to pass Avatar in the next few days. Incidentally, it took Avatar 47 days, and Titanic 86, to reach the mark where The Force Awakens currently sits after 17. That’s mostly indicative of a paradigm shift, one in which movies open bigger and play for shorter periods, but it’s still impressive.

Globally, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ranks as the sixth highest-grossing film in history, having earned $1.5 billion worldwide. It should pass “Furious 7” and “Marvel’s The Avengers” to become the fourth-biggest film in the coming days. The film will get a big shot in the arm next week when it premieres in China, the world’s second-biggest market for film. Depending on how enthusiastically it is received in the People’s Republic, “The Force Awakens” could shoot past “Avatar’s” record $2.8 billion global haul. [Variety]

Of course, the difficulty there is that Star Wars is much less known in China. Though Disney has worked hard to change that, naming South Korean heartthrob Luhan its “official Chinese ambassador” in conjunction with the release of his song “The Inner Force” and its Star Wars-themed video, among other initiatives. Time will tell, of course, but I believe in the power of Lu Han.

Elsewhere, The Hateful Eight expanded wide and grossed $16.2 million, and “did not meet expectations of $20 million,” according to the L.A. Times. It’s lagging well behind Django Unchained, but not disastrously so. Potential causes abound, from the leaked screener controversy to the police boycott controversy, but I think the simplest explanation is the best: this is a three-hour Western shot mostly in a single location with a trailer that doesn’t show much (good for art, less good for sales).

Coming in ahead of The Hateful Eight was Daddy’s Home, which doesn’t seem to have been that well liked by audiences (B+ Cinemascore), let alone critics (28% RottenTomatoes). That hasn’t appeared to matter at all to the ticket-buying public, as it added $29 million more over the weekend for a total of $93 million. I’ve been making fun of the “____ vs. _____!” marketing campaign all along, but I guess I have to take it back. Clearly that sh*t is magic.

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