‘Star Wars’ Crosses $1 Billion Globally At Record Pace
By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) — Star Wars: The Force Awakens showed few signs of flagging over Christmas weekend, barreling past the $1 billion mark globally at a faster clip than any film in history.
It’s becoming old hat to recount the various ways that the seventh film in the science-fiction fantasy is vaporizing records, but, familiar or not, The Force Awakens once again ground down high-water marks over the holidays, racking up $153.5 million domestically.
That represents both the biggest Christmas holiday result and the best second weekend for a film in history. Domestically, The Force Awakens has grossed a mammoth $544.6 million. Worldwide that figure is nearly $1.1 billion. The “Star Wars” sequel crossed $1 billion in twelve days, something it took the previous record-holder, Jurassic World, thirteen days to accomplish.
The three-day holiday should also rank as biggest Christmas weekend overall in history beating the $269.8 million in 2009, which saw the launch of Sherlock Holmes and the second weekend of Avatar, the box office titan that The Force Awakens hopes to surpass as the highest-grossing film in history.
Despite the furor surrounding the return of the Jedi, a few films managed to score with yuletide ticket buyers.
Paramount reunited The Other Guys stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in the comedy Daddy’s Home with strong results. The look at a stepfather’s attempts to outshine his wife’s stud of a first husband, came in second with a strong $38.8 million from 3,271 theaters. That was far above projections which had the picture opening in the $20 million range. Daddy’s Home carries a $50 million budget.
Fox also scored with Joy, a rag-tag biopic about the creator of the Miracle Mop, that earned $17.5 million from 2,896 theaters. The $60 million film reunites the Silver Linings Playbook team of Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper with director David O. Russell. It is expected to be a leading Oscar contender.
But Point Break, a remake of the 1991 Kathryn Bigelow cult favorite, wiped out. The $105 million action flick eked out $10.2 million from 2,910 venues. The Chinese-American co-production will look abroad for salvation. It has earned a solid $40 million in China, where it opened on Dec. 3. Warner Bros., which has had a horrific year at the box office, can at least content itself with the fact that it’s only a gun for hire on this one. Alcon Entertainment and DMG Entertainment financed Point Break.
Sony’s Will Smith NFL drama Concussion nabbed $11 million across 2,841 locations. L Star Capital and Village Roadshow co-financed Concussion, which has a $35 million budget.
In its second weekend of release, Universal’s Sisters barely dropped from its debut, picking up $13.9 million to drive the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy’s North American haul to $37.2 million. Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip also showed some endurance, adding $12.7 million to its $39.4 million domestic gross.
Paramount’s The Big Short expanded from eight theaters to 1,585 locations on Wednesday, picking up $14.5 million for the five day period. Its gross stands at just over $16 million and a further expansion is planned for Jan. 8, at which point the comedy about the financial collapse will be in roughly 2,500 theaters.
In limited release, the Weinstein Company’s 70 MM “road show” version of The Hateful Eight racked up a sturdy $4.6 million from 100 locations for a $45,365 per-screen average.
Fox’s The Revenant also did well in a handful of theaters. The blood-drenched revenge epic picked up $471,000 from four locations, for a per-screen average of $117,750. That’s the second best average of the year, behind only Steve Jobs with $130,381. But The Revenant will need to resonate with mainstream crowds if it hopes to recoup its $135 million budget — something “Steve Jobs” failed to do. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the film as a wilderness guide abandoned by his colleagues after a savage bear attack.
Photo: Cast members Daisy Ridley and John Boyega (2nd R) pose for pictures with Star Wars characters BB-8 (R) and R2-D2 (L) at the China Premiere of the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Shanghai, China, December 27, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song