Will ‘Star Wars’ Top ‘Avatar’s’ Box Office Record?

Star Wars the Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” could wind up passing “Avatar” as the top worldwide grosser of all time, according to a leading box office analyst.

Disney’s “The Force Awakens” has grossed $610.8 million worldwide as of Monday — about 22% of the $2.78 billion final gross by 2009’s “Avatar.” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, told Variety on Tuesday that the seventh Star Wars film has the potential to exceed James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

“Given the incredible current box office trajectory and the overwhelmingly positive response to the film, a expected phenomenal second weekend and with China yet to come in January, if any film has a chance to break into the $2 billion club and have the potential to become the highest grossing film of all-time globally, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is that film,” he said.

“The Force Awakens” is currently 102nd on the worldwide grosser list with $288.1 million in domestic grosses in four days and $322.7 million in international take in six days. It has already set an array of records — most notably a $248 million domestic opening weekend and a $529 million global weekend launch, breaking the marks set in June by “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million domestic, $524.9 million worldwide).

It also set a Monday domestic record with $40.1 million, demolishing the “Spider-Man 2” mark of $27.2 million from 2004.

The international take is particularly impressive, given that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will not open in the booming Chinese market until Jan. 9. “Jurassic World” grossed $228 million in China, accounting for about 25% of the total foreign gross of more than $1 billion.

“Jurassic World” is the third-highest worldwide grosser at $1.67 billion, trailing only “Avatar” and “Titanic” at $2.19 billion.

“The Force Awakens” has managed to evoke comparisons among fans to George Lucas’ original trilogy of films with a mere 1% negative reactions on Twitter. J.J. Abrams directed the $200 million production, overseeing “Star Wars” veterans Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher along with newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.

“The Force Awakens” will be aiming to top “Jurassic World” again for another record during the upcoming weekend as it sets sights on eclipsing the $106 million mark set in June by the second weekend of the dino sequel.

Competition will be significantly stronger starting on Christmas Day. Paramount opens family comedy “Daddy’s Home” and expands “The Big Short”; Sony opens Will Smith’s “Concussion”; Warner Bros. launches its “Point Break” remake; Fox debuts Jennifer Lawrence‘s “Joy” — all in wide release. Additionally, The Weintein Company launches Quentin Tarantino‘s “The Hateful Eight” in 100 theaters and Fox opens Leonardo DiCaprio‘s “The Revenant” in four.

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  1. emanuel says:

    No way Force Awakens overtakes Avatar. The reason simply is that Force Awakens does not have the international draw that Avatar had. If you look at Avatar box office data, you will find that the movie domestically sold 760 million dollars but sold over 2 Billion, that’s BILLION dollars in the foreign markets. In today’s world, the international market is where the bulk of the money is made in reference to ticket sale revenue. Movies that have done exceptionally well, have to 2 to 3x ratio of foreign to domestic sales figures. Avatar sold 27% of its tickets domestically while 73% of revenue came from foreign ticket sales. As of now, Force Awakens ticket sales are not showing that international appeal. Domestic to foreign ticket sales are roughly 50/50. That does not portend well for a Force Awakens victory over Avatar.

  2. Chris says:

    Yes, it can.

  3. I think Episode 7 will beat the Avatar record here in the United States, but I don’t think it will quite catch Avatar globally. Just an FYI, if you factor in inflation, Gone With The Wind would double what Avatar made. It would be at 1.7 billion, where as Avatar would now be at 811 million adjusted for inflation. The original Star Wars would be just behind Gone with the Wind with 1.5 billion. So you can see just how popular those 2 movies were back in their respective eras.

  4. N Kumar says:

    Star Wars 7 won’t cross Avatar’s earnings.

  5. Munchack says:

    The review in Disneyleaks is right on. This is the least imaginative or original Star Wars movie so far. It was just a scene-by-scene ripoff of the Episodes IV and V that was so predictable that any true Star Wars fan would feel let down that Disney decided only to reboot the original movies. It was a big disappointment.

  6. Tom says:

    According to the box office data, and decline rate daily, it could pass Avatar domestic box office record, or nearly, but the international box office, I bet it won’t pass “Avatar”, actually it will be not as “Hot” as “Furious 7” in China box, I am Chinese, and I feel like it’s not attractive as “Furious 7”, even JW not attractive as “Furious 7”, it certainly will get around 200m dollar or less in China box office, but F7 got 390m dollar. “Avatar” is astonishment in China, because it had incredible virtual effects, and the design is told to learn from the beauty of China famous resort, it got us interested, F7 is so “Hot”, all because F6 is such a big hit in China box office, many friends of mine all praise thats a good movie, want to see again. The story of Star war original, it’s quite good, I saw it at young age, but this new one is really similar to the original trilogy, so I could pass it as I was too familiar with the original trilogy, no surprise, no interested.

  7. Rob weaver says:

    118 + million for wknd # 2

  8. cadavra says:

    Well, nobody ever thought JURASSIC WORLD would get to #3, so while it’s still too early to call, I wouldn’t bet against it.

  9. Steven says:

    No way. We are talking almost 3 billions with Avatar…crazy.

  10. Rudy Mario says:

    If I were a betting person I would bet “No”
    Reason : UnlIke Titanic,Avatar and JW, Starwars does not appeal to 50% of the world poulation (Chinese, Indians and Indonesians who together make up 50%). Note I assume Titanic and Avatar will be converted to 2015 equivalent dollars.

  11. Max says:

    Waiting for the release in India. surely it will get about $300M

  12. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the real record that any film is aiming for is Gone with the Wind’s (in today’s dollars) $3.4 billion take. (Also, adjusted for inflation, Avatar’s take is $3.02 billion, not $2.78 billion, but I digress.) It’s pretty easy for films to constantly set new records when nobody adjusts the gross for inflation.

    • (As a general rule, reporters and the general public need to do a better job of discussing and understanding money in an intelligent manner. I have no problem with all ya’ll constantly talking about nominal figures. Just also acknowledge that they aren’t inflation-adjusted, and thus not real. It’s like people bragging about their stock returns while failing to deduct their tax costs.)

      • MaxFoncito says:

        This argument is nearly as bad and doesn’t really make much sense either. You want inflation to be brought into the mix but not competition factors. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has to compete with an incredible amount of entertainment options from hundreds of television channels, televised sporting events, Netflix, Vudu, internet, smart phones, social media and other options that draw away viewers.
        Gone With The Wind had NOTHING to compete against. There was no television, no internet, no social media, etc…. The only competition it had was a handful of radio stations you could pull in your local area. Not hard to set a record when there is no other options for entertainment and you play for years in theaters.

      • In my opinion, you have to go with number of tickets sold – but Gone With the Wind played on what… MAYBE 300 screens, probably 200 or less? Avatar opened to 3,452 and many more worldwide. It had a 3D / visual extravaganza aspect that people were coming to see. They weren’t coming to see THE FILM, they were coming to see THE FUN STUFF. But Gone With the Wind is a 4 hour war film, not exactly fun. So the fact that it did the business it did is beyond inspiring. NO ONE will ever compete with Gone With the Wind, it was seen by such a large part of the country and permeated our culture in ways no film will again. You had entire classrooms and schools taking buses to the theaters, you had many sons and daughters of veterans of the Civil War and even some actual veterans in attendance. Quite a difference from people toking in the parking lot and then going to Pandora.

        Anyway, let’s drop the “It’s no Gone With the Wind!” thing. NOTHING will be Gone With the Wind.

  13. Matrices says:

    It would be disappointing to me if a sequel took over all of those records

  14. sunhillb1 says:

    No way avatar is amazing and breathtaking I be very disappointed if it does! but avatar would be the first film ever to gross $2 billion so that cannot be done ever!!! waiting for avatar 2 and 3 etc

    • Chris says:

      Avatar was a forgettable piece of shit movie. It sucked.

    • John Martin says:

      True, GWTW was only in a relatively few theaters. But lets not forget it screened for YEARS.
      Its really hard to compare a movie of 76 years ago to one from today.
      As for inflation, well eventually making 2.8 bill worldwide will be commonplace if enough time passes.
      I consider both GWTW and AVATAR to be worldwide box office champs of their respective eras.

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