Box Office: ‘Star Wars: Force Awakens’ Will Top ‘Jurassic World,’ ‘Titanic’ on New Year’s

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

Fireworks displays and champagne-soaked revelry couldn’t derail the “Star Wars” juggernaut.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trumped the competition on New Year’s eve, adding $22.9 million to its nearly $652 million haul. The film will pass “Jurassic World’s” $652.3 million domestic gross and  “Titanic’s” $658.7 million stateside total at some point on New Year’s day. That will make it the second highest-grossing domestic release in history, behind only “Avatar’s” $760.5 million record.

Globally, the film has earned $1.3 billion, making it the eighth highest-grossing film on a worldwide basis.

Not everything has gone smoothly for “The Force Awakens.” George Lucas, the creator of the “Star Wars” universe, was forced to roll back comments that hinted he had seller’s remorse. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Lucas compared Disney, which bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for more than $4 billion, to “white slavers.” On Thursday, he apologized for using a “very inappropriate analogy,” and pronounced himself “thrilled” with the job Disney did with the space opera.

As for other holiday contenders, Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home” brought in $5.9 million, pushing its domestic total to $64.7 million. The studio’s “The Big Short,” a comedy about the financial collapse of 2008, earned $2.1 million, bringing its gross to just under $24 million.

Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” and “Joy,” a biopic about the creator of the Miracle Mop, earned roughly $3.2 million. The “Chipmunks” sequel has generated $55.6 million since opening on Dec. 18, while “Joy” has earned $28.3 million since debuting on Christmas.

The Weinstein Company’s “The Hateful Eight,” a blood-specked Western from Quentin Tarantino, earned $3.1 million. The film has generated $13.3 million since debuting in limited release on Christmas. The studio will push the film from 100 theaters to 2,474 by Friday.

Point Break,” an ill-advised remake of the 1991 cult action film about bank robbing surfers, is shaping up to be one of the holiday season’s biggest bombs. It carries a $105 million production budget, but has only eked out $15.6 million since kicking off its run last week. Warner Bros. is distributing the film, which was backed by Alcon Entertainment.

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  1. David says:

    Avatar launched simultaneously in China. TFA doesn’t release there for another week. I suspect TFA will break the $3bn bracket, considering it’s already outpacing Avatar with whilst playing to a smaller potential audience.

    • therealeverton says:

      !. No it didn’t, Just like Star Wars Avatar opened in China in January, just 1 week ahead of the Star Wars release (the 2nd of Jan for Avatar and the 9th for Star Wars).

      2. If you research the global market you know that the Chinese market is almost incomparable in 2015 to 2009. There are thousands upon thousands more screens available now than there were then and it is a far more favourable market for non domestic films now than it was then.

      Put simply at the end of 2009 there were 4,723 screens in China; at the end of 2014 there 23,592 screens and ticket sales have increased massively to match that growth.

      The top grossing film of 2009 made $68m (and that is a reflection of the highest amount “possible”) and in 2015 the highest grossing film made $390m and you have to go all the way to number 32 to find Minions with $68m!

      That is exponential growth on an almost frightening scale.You can see an example here on Variety by searching the headline below ion this site…

      “China Box Office Growth at 49% as Total Hits $6.78 Billion”

  2. Alexander says:

    Avatar only holds the top spot because it was in 3D and tickets were twice as expensive. More people have already seen the new star wars than avatar. The records should go off number of tickets sold, not whatever a dollar happens to be worth at that time.

    • You do realize that The Force Awakens is also in 3D and is monopolizing IMAX screens right? So what was your point?

    • therealeverton says:

      Sorry but that is nonsense. ALL tickets weren’t twice as expensive and whilst it was high, not ALL tickets sold were 3D. Star Wars in in exactly the same situation as Avatar (£D, Imax etc.) except those are all more expensive than they were 6 years ago.

      Avatar sold $2.7m worth of tickets world wide. Even with adjustments (which are tricky) the only film that comes close is Gone With The Wind, which sold more tickets. Avatar sold a LOT of tickets, that some people still try to wriggle that away somehow is just baffling and a waste of time.

      This film will get the North American dollars gross “title”. It MA?Y get the global dollar gross crown, but that’s no way Guaranteed AND then for people that care about such things, it will have to sell a fair bit over the $2.7b worth of tickets Avatar did to account for the fact that tickets cost more now than they did 6 years ago. Even then it’ll still be partially guess work because of different exchange rates internationally and THEN someone will probably bring up that China was barely a factor then so it isn’t a “fair” comparison and blah, blah, blah.

      But the one thing we can say here, is you’re incorrect, TFA has NOT already sold more tickets than Avatar, either globally or just in North America.

      • therealeverton says:

        @Matthew Clayton (@mcjwserenity)

        Your comment makes no sense. I stated that TFA would pass the dollar gross of Avatar and MAY pass the tickets.

        Your adjustment for Avatar to 2015/6 ticket prices (which as always remains partially guesswork as it is based on average ticket prices so can always have an over under of significant size) The actual adjustment, based on the notion that the 2009 average ticket price was $7.5 and the 2015 average is $8.34 makes an 111.2% of the $760m to get the equivalent price. That leaves the North American Guesstimate of Avatar at the Star Wars ticket prices of $845,684,479..

        Once again I am NOT saying that it can’t reach that total, nor that it won’t, merely that as amazing as the success of the film is, sometimes you just can’t guarantee what will happen once school, University and work take over, not to mention a stronger than usual January line up.

        There is a difference between saying something isn’t certain and saying it can’t / won’t happen. If anything I expect it to pass that mark, but I won’t be “shocked” if it falls short either.

        (Box Office Mojo for figures, like you I assume, and remember they are very clear that adjustments are just a best guess and useful tool NOT a definitive set of figures.)

      • Oh, but it will. Adjusted for inflation, “Avatar”‘s adjusted domestic gross is $799 million in its theatrical run ($811 million if you count the re-release). TFA will certainly cruise past those numbers sometime this month.

  3. Scott says:

    Remember this movie has only been out 2 weeks. You can talk adjusted grosses all you want but 700 million in 14 days is incredible, especially in an age where this movie is going to be out on bluray in 6 months. People don’t see movies 10 times and movies don’t stay around a year or more in theaters. Not to mention there are more movies being made and more competition. You may not like the movie and that’s an opinion, just like my view is just an opinion, but it’s still an impressive feat.

  4. DANNY HOLMES says:

    Isn’t it funny and ironic that a comedy about the financial collapse of Wall Street, THE BIG SHORT, is a financial bonanza at the box office, doing $2.1 million yesterday while still in limited expansion. when it expands nationwide next Friday, it will give the Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg comedy blockbuster, DADDY’S HOME, some heated competition for the number two spot. Though by then, DADDY’S HOME will be well past $100 million dollars and racing for $200 million. And it looks like lots of sold out theaters today, at least in my next of the woods. Can’t wait to se the numbers for these two at the end of the night.

  5. Bully J says:

    Yes yes yes…. Then click on the adjusted for inflation button to see where it really ranks in all time box office. Or do you think it’s fair to compare films based on inflated ticket prices. If you want to play that game, just wait till super troopers 34 comes out in fifty years time. Oh, one person saw it, but it made more than the Force Awakens, so therefore it’s a better movie. STOP COMPARING FILMS WITH INFLATED TICKET PRICES!!!!!

    • Bill B. says:

      It’s all pointless and yet so many argue about it like it means something. I get it, as I used to think it important, but looking back there have been so many poor or bad movies that made a fortune in their day that it truly means nothing. Between inflated ticket prices and even higher charges for 3D versions of the same film, there is no way to make fair comparisons. It’s a shame that actual ticket sales were never recorded, but even with that, it still would mean little other than an answer to a trivia question.

    • DSykes says:

      It’s also unfair to compare movies today that have hundreds of other competitors for your attention with films that existed before the advent of Television, little alone video games, streaming services or the internet.

      • therealeverton says:

        @ IAn No it doesn’t. There’s a world of difference between a time when a film could be on release for a year, re-release ad nauseam and had no visual competition … TV, video games, Home cinema AND more importantly the ability to watch the film either first or again and again just four months after release, not months and years later. Also there was PLENTY of mass advertising. People read newspapers and magazines back then and had Radio. There was little difficulty advertising your coming films. Also going to the cinema was a regular event so in cinema advertising was also a factor.

        The closest way to get anything like a true comparison is to take ALL earnings directly. I.E cinema and sales and rentals. Then you won’t have a “comparison” that either Always and forever favours the days when there was little or no alternative mass entertainment or the inflation rate, to an extent.

        Of course Titanic hs sold way more tickets than Star Wars TFA. But it is worth remembering that Avatar actually came close to toppling a film from that bygone age and is only about $200m worth of tickets behind the “adjusted” figure for Gone With The Wind.

        Adjusted ticket prices are part guesswork too, ticket sales would be useful, but a lot of that data is simply lost now. From this year onward I’d like to see all films, in all territories listed with grosses AND ticket sales, but also no rose tinted myopia about the films of the early 20th Century that forgets how much easier it was to then compared to now.

        (Also disagree, but there’s no need to insult DSykes is there?)

      • Ian says:

        It’s also unfair to comparing movies that didnt have the advantage of tv and mass marketing advertising as well as being part of a franchise chain. It works both ways smart Arse.

  6. Sophie says:

    Why not see another film equally great like Macbeth. Audience should watch it too and enjoy with the stunning visuals it has and the magnificent performances.

    • Bill B. says:

      I’ve heard great things about Macbeth, but it’s not playing where I live. I am very surprised that it is not getting just about any kind of awards recognition.

  7. Wayne Klein says:

    Hi Variety. Hopefully someone will read this. You have an annoying iPhone pop up (on the iPad i can’t turn off the pop ups as readily as a PC) that won’t allow you to go to the page you’re reading without taking you to the “you’ve won an iPhone B.S.”. You have to close the page and physically go back to reload it EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to read an item.

    This needs to stop guys. I’m discontinuing coming to the site as long as this is here bexause, frankly, it’s annoying and you folks have allowed this idocy to occur. I understand you need advertisers but this is so ten years ago.

    This, along with the drop in the wuality of your reporting (specifically online) are two hallmarks about the lack of editorial supervision (or maybe you just don’t get a s**t.

    Pull it together otherwise you will lose more readers and your other advertisers will no longer procide revenue bexause your readership will drop. Whomever is managing your digital assets and allowing this to happen is an idiot and that’s putting it charitably.

    Bye (at least until you fix this issue)!

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