‘The Revenant’ opens strong, but ‘Star Wars’ still leads

All eyes were glued to the Golden Globes awards ceremony today where Leonardo DiCaprio picked up a statue for the Best Actor – Drama category for his breath-taking performance in The Revenant. That is the second triumph for DiCaprio following on the footsteps of a pretty solid $38 million opening for the movie after it was given a wide release in North America on the weekend. Such an opening for an R-rated non-franchise film is impressive, quite similar to the opening of Shutter Island in 2012 ($41 million) which eventually earned $128 million in North America. Given the impressive reviews of The Revenant, the Golden Globe wins for DiCaprio and director Alejandro González Iñárritu, and the imminent Oscar buzz with everyone beginning to wonder if DiCaprio will win an Oscar finally, I am betting that The Revenant could run strong till February. A $100 million plus tally from North America would be comfortable. But the movie had its troubles during production and the budget got inflated to $135 million. The marketing costs are over and above that. So the movie might need to grab $250 million plus from overseas to start making money for the studio. That’s not a given, even considering DiCaprio’s obvious star power. Shutter Island, for comparison, earned $167 million overseas, and that film had even Martin Scorsese’s name to use. On the other hand, the global markets have opened further for Hollywood films since then, as proved by the subsequent Scorsese – DiCaprio film The Wolf of Wall Street which grabbed $275 million overseas. So The Revenant needs those kind of earnings globally to be a financial success; it has started with $20 million from abroad. A bit of Oscar buzz, a little bit of DiCaprio magic, and we may be heading there!

Earnings_The Revenant

The low-budget horror movie The Forest had a decent $13 million collection over the weekend. It’s nothing great, and it’s not too bad considering the movie was fighting a battle with The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie’s production budget was around $10 million, which it might be able to recover if it manages around $30 million earnings, though the movie would have to first survive a sharp fall in its second weekend as is the case usually with such cheap horror movies. Another movie, the faith-based wrestling/crime drama The Masked Saint, opened in only 482 theaters and earned such a dismal tally of $133k that it will never be spoken of again.

Earnings_The Forest

Star Wars: The Force Awakens remained top of the box-office in North America for the fourth weekend in a row. The movie has now earned $812 million in North America, the first movie ever to cross the $800 million mark. Woah! In addition, it has collected $921 million from overseas which includes $53 million from China on its opening this weekend. With a worldwide total of $1.73 billion, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stands at #3 on the all-time worldwide box-office list. Crossing $2 billion might be achievable, but surpassing earnings of Avatar seems like a very distant possibility now. Nonetheless, J.J. Abrams’ film has been nothing short of phenomenal! The Hateful Eight surprisingly took a big fall of almost 60% and its domestic earnings are $41.4 million as of now, though it is yet to open overseas. Daddy’s Home continues its strong run and has amasses $154 million worldwide, having surpassed the collections of Will Ferrell’s Get Hard ($111 million) long back. A similar run continues for Sisters which has earned $83 million till date.

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

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($41.6 million; fourth weekend)

2. The Revenant ($38.0 million; third weekend)

3. Daddy’s Home ($15.0 million; third weekend)

4. The Forest ($13.1 million)

5. Sisters ($7.2 million; fourth weekend)


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