We all sort of assumed Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be the biggest movie ever, and at least in terms of domestic openings not adjusted for inflation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the biggest movie ever. Its estimated $238 million domestic, plus another $279 million internationally ($517 million total), isn’t quite the $300 million and $600 million some were predicting, but it was still massive. It crushed December’s previous record weekend in a single day, and has already made almost as much as the latest Hunger Games, which has been playing for an entire month.
Here’s a list of superlatives:
Largest Thursday Previews: $57 million*
Previous Record: $43.5 million (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
Largest Friday, Opening Day, Single Day: $120.5 million (estimated)
Previous Record: $91 million (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $238 million (estimate)
Previous Record: $208.8 million (Jurassic World)
Highest Per Theater Average (Wide Opening): $57,571 (estimate)
Previous Record: $48,855 / 4,274 theaters (Jurassic World)
Top Opening Weekend for PG-13 Rated Film: $238 million (estimate)
Previous Record: $208.8 million (Jurassic World)
Top Holiday Opening Weekend**: $238 million (estimate)
Previous Record: $158 million (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Biggest Weekend Overall (Top 12 Gross): $294.5 million
Previous Record: $266 million (June 12-14, 2015)
Biggest December Weekend (Top 12 Gross): $294.5 million
Previous Record: $259.9 million (Dec 25-27, 2009)
December Single Day: $120.5 million (estimated)
Previous Record: $37.13 million (The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey)
Widest December Opening: 4,134 theaters
Previous Record: 4,045 theaters (The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey)
December Opening Weekend: $238 million (estimate)
Previous Record: $84.62 million (The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey)
Fastest to $100 Million: 1 Day
Previous Record: 2 Days (Jurassic World)
Global IMAX Opening Record: $48 million
Previous Record: $44.1 million (Jurassic World)
Domestic IMAX Opening Record: $30.1 million
Previous Record: $20.9 million (Jurassic World)
Under the circumstances, some of the records The Force Awakens didn’t set are more surprising than the ones it did.
The Saturday and Sunday single-day records are still held by Jurassic World. Nor did The Force Awakens beat Jurassic World internationally – its $279 million is actually number three behind Jurassic World ($316 million) and the last Harry Potter ($314 million).
There’s the caveat that Jurassic World made $99 million in China, where The Force Awakens hasn’t opened yet, though Star Wars is actually much less known in China, where all three prequels only made $18.7 million combined in their total runs.
All that said, The Force Awakens beating Avatar‘s $760.5 million domestic record isn’t out of the question, though that’s wildly speculative at this point. The bottom line is, everyone expected it to make a ton of money and it did.
There were also a couple other movies opening. Alvin and the Chipmunks Road Chip earned $14.4 million domestically, down from previous Alvin movies, that it should be noted weren’t opening against Star Wars. Tina Fey/Amy Poehler’s Sisters earned $13.4 million, which as Box Office Mojo notes, is actually better than This is 40.
This is around two million better than This is 40 performed back in 2012, as it played opposite The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in its second weekend and the weekend opening of Jack Reacher. This is 40 improved on its second weekend by 8% and given both films received relatively similar reviews and Sisters a “B” CinemaScore to 40‘s “B-“, this makes a good case for an apples-to-apples performance. If so, Sisters could be looking at a $75+ million run if it manages This is 40‘s 5.83 multiplier. [Box Office Mojo]
And Sisters only cost $30 million. Neat! Also, Ron Howard’s In The Heart of the Sea dropped like a rock, down 68.7% from its already disappointing opening weekend. Was it really that bad? The book was great.
Next week brings us The Hateful Eight hitting 100 theaters, The Big Short expanding to 2,200, Will Smith’s African accent in Concussion (more like Conc-UGH-ssion if it’s anything like those previews, am I right?), The Danish Girl in 400 theaters (rated Nah for ‘nah’), Daddy’s Home, Point Break, and Joy. Sheesh. I’m guessing one of those is going to be left standing when the music stops, and if I was a betting man, my money would be on Point Break. Which is a shame, because the only law it ever broke was gravity. Back off, War Child. Seriously.
|1||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||$238,000,000||$57,571||$238,000,956|
|2||Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip||$14,400,000||$3,942||$14,400,000|
|4||The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2||$5,650,000 (-50.5%)||$2,130||$254,438,018|
|6||The Good Dinosaur||$4,305,000 (-58.3%)||$1,563||$96,619,660|
|8||In the Heart of the Sea||$3,465,000 (-68.7%)||$1,117||$18,600,585|