Box Office: ‘Force Awakens’ Rockets Toward ‘Avatar’s’ All-Time Domestic Record

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has begun 2016 the same way it closed out 2015: it’s making a killing at the box office. The seventh chapter in the space opera nabbed $34 million on Friday, putting its domestic cume on track for close to $750 million by the end of the holiday weekend.

Unspooling in 4,134 locations, “Force Awakens” should pull in north of $95 million during its third weekend of release. Unsurprisingly, it’s far and away the most popular title at multiplexes this holiday, distantly trailed by Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s comedy “Daddy’s Home” and Quentin Tarantino’s latest Western “The Hateful Eight.” Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver star in the J.J. Abrams-directed Disney-Lucasfilm adventure.

“Force Awakens” has already overtaken domestic box office leaders “Titanic” (previously No. 2 with $658.7 million) and “Jurassic World” (formerly No. 3 with $652 million). It’s expected to exceed “Avatar’s” record of $760.5 million early next week, with some expecting the win as early as Monday.

“Star Wars” fans might have found themselves conflicted by the recent media storm over series creator George Lucas telling Charlie Rose that he sold the series to “white slavers.” He quickly backpedaled, insisting that “Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise,” he said. “I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks.”

Beyond “Force Awakens,” moviegoers are warming to “Daddy’s Home,” which pulled in $11.5 million on Friday in 3,342 locations. The Paramount comedy should end its second weekend with a three-day total approaching $30 million for a domestic total of up to $94 million.

“The Hateful Eight” is the third-most popular release over the holiday weekend, netting $6.4 million on Friday from 2,474 locations. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in the snowy Weinstein Co. release.

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s Universal comedy “Sisters” is close behind, totaling close to $5 million on New Year’s day and tracking for a weekend haul of more than $12 million. The R-rated pic, which follows two grown-up sisters throwing one last raging party at their childhood home, is playing in 2,978 locations.

Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” is holding on in fifth place, generating a Friday total over $4 million in 3,474 locations. The animated sequel should wrap up the weekend with a three-day total close to $12 million.

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  1. Amp 26 says:

    It will be funny to see how episode viii will be an epic box-office fiasco. Why? Because a lot of Star wars fans thinked The force awakens destroyed in any way the Star Wars Canon.

    I’m not going to go a cinema to see Episode Viii, The Last Jedi, because to me and to many people, Star wars ended at episode Vi.

    And, by the way, I loved Avatar. Avatar wasn’t overrated at all. It was one of the most beautiful movies ever made, and It wasn’t a void, bad videogame movie like The force awakens. So to me (and to may people), Avatar is a really relevant movie because touched the heart of a lot of people, The force awakens didn’t.

  2. ObserverMI says:

    If….. you like ‘recycled’ ‘lazy’ ‘been there done that’ ‘left over warming’….. then keep putting your $$ toward these creatively lazy re-hash movies like star wars. And enjoy.
    I myself… not into regurgitated slop.

    • therealeverton says:

      I assume you’re not referring to the many millions who had, like you, to pay up front to discover for themselves if the film was good or not?

  3. Just wanted to say that The Force Awakens is about as entertaining as my ass in a mirror. Less inspirational, though. Seriously disappointed, and just all around sad.

  4. Mark says:

    I have enjoyed Star Wars since seeing it in England back in 78. A beautiful piece of film making that has not been surpassed regardless of budget or effects excellence of modern films. The last film that gave me the same feeling was Raiders back in 81. I had not seen anything since that compared. I thought I never would and put it down to age. However, my first viewing of The Force Awakens gave me that thrill, especially the first view of the Falcon. I am going to see it for the fourth time this afternoon. Regardless of the money it makes the film has really worked for me on a personal level.

  5. steve barr says:

    Lets see how far The Foce Awakens gets on the all time adjusted list . Number 10 is Snow White with 860 million . Number 1 is Gone With The Wind with 1.6 million .

    • George Dixon says:

      Steve – first of all – the USA didn’t get “involved” in World War 2 until December 7 of 1941. Secondly tv was rare and “radio shows” were still popular. Now we have streaming movies, 500 channels of programming on Direct TV, theater quality home theater rooms — not to mention pirating and torrents allowing folks to view things (albeit illegal) while they are still in release. Comparing today’s entertainment options to 1940 is about as useful as comparing an AM radio to an iPhone…

      This movie is extremely popular – folks are lining up and selling out shows all over the world. To claim otherwise is frankly silly

      The “inflation” comparisons are frankly put out by people wanted to somehow mitigate a modern movies achievements or successes. And it’s an epic fail to anyone with a noodle and awareness of societal and technological changes..

    • liquidmuse says:

      How many choices did people have for entertainment back then?

      • therealeverton says:

        Disposable income is relative. People went to the cinema regularly just to “see” the news in moving pictures. If you have $100 disposable income and it is $10 to see a film, there’s little difference to the person with $10 disposable and a cost of $1 to see a film. Going to the cinema was relatively cheap, it was your ONLY source of moving pictures,. It was a huge social thing. ~There was only print media, live entertainment and radio as competition. If you wanted to see a film you went to the cinema and that was that. A film may be out for a year but once it was gone you were “never” seeing it again. Until there was a re-release. There’s no comparison between those days and today. Even the time of the first Star Wars is a different world to today. There’s no “fair”comparison, but if you have to make one then the closest you’ll ever get is to compare the entire cinema runs AND the lifetime sales / rentals as that is the modern film’s equivalent method for seeing a film, either at all, or again.

        Also IF Star Wars reaches a similar ticket ratio to Avatar, a similar box office then you’ll find it is actually very close to GWTW’s box office. If you “adjust” / Guestimate GWTW box office to current prices it is about $3b, Avatar made $2.7, not so very far behind and if star Wars gets close to that JIM’s “By comparison Star Wars 7 is a joke.” comment will look rather foolish. To be honest being so myopic about the massive social and technological difference between pre mid 1980s cinema and current cinema going is foolish anyway.

      • Jim says:

        Gone with the wind came out in 1940. The world was at war. How big do you think the audience was. I can’t imagine it was released in China, Japan, Germany etc. Also the population of the planet is now 3 times bigger. People also have a lot more disposable cash now. With TV advertising, game tie ins & franchise marketing. Come on. that kind of argument has no weight. By comparison Star Wars 7 is a joke.

  6. MightyMad says:

    “Star Wars” fans might have found themselves conflicted by the recent media storm over series creator George Lucas telling Charlie Rose that he sold the series to “white slavers.”

    Nope. True SW fans already knows to take anything Uncle George says with a grain of salt.


    The box office was blitzed last night by moviegoers. Look at those smoking numbers. Thirty four million for Star Wars and another $30+ million weekend for Daddy’s Home is in the works. I knew the numbers for this weekend would be huge nationally. At my local multiplex, The Big Short, Daddy’s Home, Star Wars, and Concussion were all sold out for their early evening shows. Daddy’s Home sold out hours before the 8pm show was to start. 2016 definitely is starting off with a bang!

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