Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Eyes $200 Million-Plus Debut

Star Wars the Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is shaping up to become a cinematic event with few equals.

Pent-up excitement for the return of Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo, and a raft of interplanetary film icons is powering the seventh film in the science-fiction franchise towards a record opening weekend. Disney, the company that plunked down $4 billion and change for the rights to George Lucas’ brainchild, is in the enviable position of downplaying expectations, but rival studios and industry analysts believe that “The Force Awakens” will open to $210 million or more, establishing a new high-water mark. Of course, when a film has this kind of awareness surrounding it, the methodology for projecting a specific box office result is about as scientific as the four humors of Hippocratic medicine.

Flaws in the predictive model aside, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the film will be huge. The film has already set a record for pre-sales, moving more than $50 million in tickets, and should at the very least shatter “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s” record December launch of $84.6 million. “The Force Awakens” will roll out across more than 4,100 theaters in North America, 392 of which will be IMAX screens and more than 3,300 of which will be 3D locations.

It will also be in most of the known world. The one major exception being China, where “The Force Awakens” lands on Jan. 9. That massive distribution campaign also has some predicting that the latest excursion to a galaxy far, far away will top “Jurassic World’s” record-setting $525.5 million global bow.

Should “The Force Awakens” fall short of a record, it can content itself with enviable placement on the calendar (as well as millions of BB-8 toys sold and stuffed into stockings). Next week is the launch of the Christmas/New Year’s corridor, a two-week movie-going bonanza that routinely fills multiplexes’ coffers. That means that “The Force Awakens” could conceivably rack up far in excess of $400 million before 2016 starts.

Bringing the Skywalker clan back to the big screen cost at least $200 million to produce and the gross product of Endor to market, but that will be a small price to pay if “The Force Awakens” can bolster interest in the series and kick-off a series of planned sequels, spin-offs, and origin stories. Disney’s ambition is for LucasFilm to join Marvel and Pixar in its arsenal of top-shelf movie brands.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ World Premiere Photos
Star Wars Premiere Photos

Even with “Star Wars” dominating the cultural conversation, a few films will venture out and try to siphon off ticket-buyers. Universal’s “Sisters,” which reunites the “Baby Mama” team of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, will likely pull in $13 million from 2,950 theaters this weekend. The picture about aging sisters throwing a blow-out bash in their childhood home cost $30 million to make.

Fox is also trying to ensnare younger children, who may be frightened by all things Kylo Ren, with “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.” The fourth installment in the popular family series should make $12 million from 3,650 locations. The studio believes the film will show some endurance throughout the holiday season when school is out of session.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 7

Leave a Reply

7 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Duder NME says:

    Well Harry Potter, you had a good run. Made it to 3 years on top, ya did. But now your reign as box office franchise champ is about to be leviosaaaaa’d up your expactum patronum timey wimey made upus wordicus.

  2. its al about the camera work and just the ride with the characters.. if it was like old films.. that story and just amazin experence. of course wih the insane good duesl and cgi…. thats y films need to work and well it might be flawed near the end but its not bad either… u can never have the same as the empire strikes back but then again its still dooable.. lets see

  3. Gigi says:

    STAR WARS WAS AMAZINGGGGGG!!! I love you JJ Abrams!!

  4. anony says:

    It will never break Avatar’s BO record, that’s for certain.

  5. virusts says:

    I am going on a limb and saying that it will make $300 mil opening weekend.

  6. mimiplay05 says:

    Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens FullMovie HD# play & download click links description => http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3i9h9m

  7. lewiji says:

    Good luck opening your movies against The Force Awakens.

More Film News from Variety

Loading