‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to soon topple ‘Avatar’ in North America

It’s not just what Star Wars: The Force Awakens is achieving at the box-office, but the pace at which it is doing so that is mind-blowing. After having broken the domestic box-office opening record two weeks back, the movie has hardly slowed down. On its third weekend, it dropped by 41% to steal another $88.3 million in North America. That brings its domestic earnings to a staggering $740 million; only the second movie ever to earn more than $700 million in North America! During the previous week, it crossed Titanic ($658.6 million) to become the second biggest movie in the domestic market. And now it has its eyes on the top prize. When James Cameron’s Avatar was the talk of the town back in December 2009, starting slow but than growing and building in size and stature, eventually earning $760 million in North America, no one could have guessed which movie would have the power and the aura to be even bigger than that. Now we have the answer. It is going to be 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie is only $20 million shy of becoming the biggest movie of North America, which will happen within a few days itself. We should very well be seeing Star Wars create a new category altogether – the $800 million club – of which it will be the sole member. And it is anybody’s guess as to when and who will eclipse this mighty beast of a movie! To add to the domestic triumph, Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to be running strongly overseas as well and has amassed $1.51 billion worldwide so far, only a few million short of moving above Furious 7 and The Avengers. In less than a week’s time, the worldwide earnings of Jurassic World ($1.66 billion) will also be eclipsed, so that by the time I am writing on the box-office performance of Star Wars next Monday, it would be at #3 on the all-time global earnings list. The next two targets: Titanic ($2.18 billion) and Avatar ($2.78 billion). With Star Wars yet to open in China, we are all left guessing as to the further heights that the movie can achieve. It’s just a joy to be right here when these events are unfolding! For trust me, we are seeing history in the making.

Earnings_Star Wars - The Force Awakens v3

The first weekend of the year has been fantastic for others too apart from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The comedy Daddy’s Home kept the second spot, dropping by only 25% in its second weekend. It has earned $115 million worldwide so far which is damn good. Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight widened is theatre base during the week, and earned about $16.4 million over the weekend, which takes its domestic tally to $29.5 million. The movie had opened wide mid-week so the weekend earnings are not exactly comparable with other movies, but it is definitely weaker than Django Unchained which had been released on a Tuesday and still managed a $30 million opening weekend figure back in December 2012. The production budget of The Hateful Eight is $44 million, and so if the domestic tally comes to around $50 million, then the movie might need $70 million or so from overseas to achieve break-even. It might even make some decent return, but I say it again, this one ain’t in the league of Django Unchained, at least financially.

Earnings_The Hateful Eight

The Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy movie Sisters is doing extremely well with only a 11% drop in its third weekend; the movie has earned $66 million worldwide so far, with bulk of the earnings from North America. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip has earned $91 million worldwide so far, quite far from the heights the previous three movies of the franchise had reached. Most of the other movies had low drops over the weekend, though Joy did fall by 39%, higher than the rest, and the studio is likely to struggle to recover its investment. Creed on the other had has crossed $100 million domestically, and has earned $115 million worldwide so far.

It has been an impressive start to the new year for Hollywood, though the fireworks have come from the movies of 2015. The latest releases will start hitting the theatres from the coming weekend, and only then we’ll truly feel we have arrived in 2016.

Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($88.3 million; third weekend)

2. Daddy’s Home ($29.0 million; second weekend)

3. The Hateful Eight ($16.2 million; second weekend)

4. Sisters ($12.6 million; third weekend)

5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip ($11.8 million; third weekend)


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