Tuesday, December 29, 2015

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' leads massive Christmas frame with best second weekend of all time

The money train continued over the Christmas holiday weekend for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it snagged the biggest second weekend in history. At this point, The Force Awakens is on a fast track to being the highest grossing film of all time- it will certainly top Avatar in the US, and there's a good chance that it'll beat James Cameron's film globally too. Over its second weekend, Star Wars grossed $149.2 million, enough to raise its total to $540 million. That's a 10 day record for the film and with that number, it's already the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, behind only Avatar, Titanic, Jurassic World, Avatar and The Avengers. In addition, The Force Awakens raised its global total to over $1 billion, reaching that number in a record 12 days. The Force Awakens' current worldwide gross stands at $1.16 billion, making it the tenth highest grossing film of all time.

On Monday, The Force Awakens pulled in another $31.3 million, putting its US total at a spectacular $571.4 million. Industry projections are showing that the seventh installment in the classic franchise will reach $700 million by the end of the New Year's frame, putting it only $60 million away from the all time record. There's even the distinct possibility at this point that Star Wars flies into the top ten highest grossing films of all time even when adjusted for inflation- $1 billion in the US alone is certainly not off the table. People are seeing this movie multiple times and believe it or not, a large number of people have been holding off. This movie will continue to be a blockbuster well through February and that's simply unheard of in the box office world. Believe the hype- this is an unprecedented event.

Most of the people who got sold out of The Force Awakens seemed to head down to the nearest auditorium that was playing Daddy's Home, the Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg-starred family (that term is pretty loosely used, for a movie that contains a large amount of penis jokes) comedy. The film made $38.7 million, a very solid number proving that the idea of opening a PG-13 laughfest against The Force Awakens wasn't a bad idea. The film also received a "B+" Cinemascore, which indicates that this one will have decent legs going into the New Year. It's far from a sure thing, but there's a very good chance that this one hits $100 million or higher (it did do an additional $6.3 million on Monday- a strong number).

In third place was David O. Russell's Joy, the biopic of Miracle Mop founder Joy Mangano. The former Oscar favorite took in $17 million, a relatively steady number in the wake of such stiff competition. It fell just a bit shy of the $19 million that American Hustle made during its wide expansion two years ago, but the reviews for Russell's last film were much stronger, which makes an apples-to-apples comparison difficult. Nonetheless, I struggle to see any situation where Joy breaks out big. It'll finish with around $50 million- a respectable total for any adult-skewing drama.

Sisters and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, holdovers from last weekend, took fourth and fifth place and raised their respective totals. But the more interesting box office results happened further down the line. Adam McKay's terrific housing crisis dramedy The Big Short expanded into 1,585 theaters and made $10.53 million, which brings its cume to $16 million. However, the most interesting note about The Big Short was that even with its smaller theater count, it beat out Will Smith's Concussion, which opened in 2,841 theaters with $10.5 million. This really shows you the importance of having good reviews and Oscar buzz.

Point Break was the weekend's big flop, finishing in eighth place with $9.8 million off a budget that was reported to be upwards of $100 million. Just another flop in a long line of failures for Warner Bros. This has definitely not been their year. They've gotta be hoping that their 2016 slate turns things around, otherwise they might be in trouble. Finally, The Hateful Eight opened in 100 theaters, but still managed to snag a 10th place finish. The film took in $4.6 million in glorious 70mm film locations for a per-screen average of $46,107. Quentin Tarantino's latest masterpiece expands into thousands of digital theaters tomorrow, but if you can see the 70mm Roadshow edition, you should definitely do that. It's an experience that I won't soon forget.

This weekend sees the expansion of The Hateful Eight, but other than that, the studios are taking the first weekend of 2016 off. Here are my predictions:

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens- $86 million
2. The Hateful Eight- $26 million
3. Daddy's Home- $24.7 million
4. Joy- $12 million
5. Sisters- $10.4 million
6. The Big Short- $9.7 million
7. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip- $9 million
8. Concussion- $8.3 million
9. Point Break- $5.4 million
10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2- $4 million

Image Credits: Star Wars, Variety, Screen Rant, Joblo

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