Update 12/21: The Monday morning numbers have rolled in, and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has actually broken the global opening weekend record, hauling in $528 million worldwide. And that’s not even counting China, where the film hasn’t opened yet.
Original story 12/20: The force was with audiences in a big way this weekend. Having already broken records for advance ticket sales, Disney is going to have a very merry Christmas as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” broke the domestic opening weekend record previously held by “Jurassic World,” pulling in a massive $238 million. Adding $279 million internationally, the movie earned $517 million total this weekend, falling just shy of the record held by “Jurassic World” of $524.9 million. However, there is one important difference: ‘The Force Awakens’ hasn’t opened in China yet, but “Jurassic World” had counted $99 million from the country on its opening weekend.
What happens next is anybody’s guess. A final domestic tally between $700-800 million is not impossible, and the domestic record of $760 million currently held by “Avatar” could be within reach. The real tell of the film’s legs will likely be seen in how much it drops (or doesn’t) next weekend. Beyond that, ‘The Force Awakens’ doesn’t have much in the way of real competition for weeks, and could be sitting at the top of the box office well into January. And the phenomenon is hardly just domestic, with the movie breaking opening weekend box office records in the UK, Australia, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Iceland, Serbia, and New Zealand. In short, ‘The Force Awakens’ is just getting started. It has also broken the IMAX opening weekend record earning $48 million on those screenings, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the beyond fantastic weekend it has had.
As you might expect, the rest of the box office was fairly quiet. “Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip” rolled into second place with $14.4 million, but its hardly a reason to celebrate for Fox. The figure is long way from franchise’s heyday, when “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” took in $48.8 million in its opening frame. That said, the Christmas holiday could see its numbers hold or even increase as families to head to cinemas and are perhaps looking for something smaller kids can enjoy. Still, it can’t help but feel like a slight miscalculation on the part of Fox.
Universal‘s attempt at counter-programming with the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler vehicle “Sisters” earned them third place with $13.4 million. It’s less than the duo’s previous film, “Baby Mama,” which earned $17.4 million in its first frame, but of course, it wasn’t opening against “Star Wars.” That said, it seems the studio’s gamble to appeal to women did pay off to some degree, as they made up 76% of the ticket buyers. However, a B- Cinemascore doesn’t suggest strong legs, and next weekend a wealth of competition arrives which could see the comedy fade fast.
In limited release, Oscar contender “Son Of Saul” took just under $39,000 on three screens for a per screen average of $12,964. “The Big Short” continued to show good numbers in advance of going wide, with $350,00 from eight theaters, for an excellent $43,750 PSA. Meanwhile, two Bollywood films snuck in to round out the top ten.
Elsewhere, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” became of the sixth film of the year to cross $250 million domestic, while “Creed” is still punching strong, hanging onto fifth place by taking in another $5 million, with $100 million domestic in its sights.
1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”— $238 million
2. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” — $14.4 million
3. “Sisters” — $13.4 million
4. “The Hunger Games: Mockingly — Part 2” — $5.6 million ($254.4 mil)
5. “Creed” — $5 million ($87.9 mil)
6. “The Good Dinosaur” — $4.2 million ($96.5 mil)
7. “Krampus” — $3.7 million ($34.8 mil)
8. “In The Heart Of The Sea” — $3.4 million ($18.6 mil)
9. “Diwale” — $1.9 million
10. “Bajirao Mastani” — $1.6 million