For a hot minute it looked like "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (SW) was going to be beaten this weekend for the No. 1 slot less then a month after it opened. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s survivalist pioneer film "The Revenant," with Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy, actually beat SW by almost $4 million on Friday night (which, objectivity set aside, I was really happy about since I think "The Revenant" is the best film of 2015. Seen it three times already).
Alas, it was not to be. Yet again, "Force Awakens" wound up being the No.1 film this weekend with $41.6 million, for a total of $812 million to date, officially overtaking "Avatar" as the biggest film ever in the U.S. in terms of box office, and looking likely to be the first film to gross $1 billion domestically. And it beat "Avatar’s" record in less than a month. It took "Avatar" over 280 days to gross the money that it did.
And getting way ahead of ourselves, how will "Avatar 2" do in its opening weekend in Dec. 2017? It sure was a big deal back when it came out six years ago, but who’s taking about it today? Anyone? Are there any real hardcore fans out there for "Avatar" like there are for "Star Wars"? I guess people finally realized that the film wasn’t that good in the first place. Though it was sure pretty to look at.
But remember, if "Force Awakens" goes on to gross $1 billion, that’s money in today’s real dollars. As I stated two weeks ago, though most reports will say that "Force Awakens" is the highest grossing film ever domestically, it really isn’t. If you take inflation into consideration, it’s currently in 15th place on the list of all time highest grossing films in the U.S. "Gone with the Wind" is still the highest grossing film, when adjusted for inflation, followed in second place by the 1977 first "Star Wars" film and then "The Sound of Music" at No. 3. "The Empire Strikes Back" misses the top ten, coming in at No. 12; and "Return of the Jedi" is 16th on the list. And in case you’re wondering about the much-hated "Star Wars" prequels, the first one, "The Phantom Menace," comes in at No. 18.
Getting back to this weekend’s list, as previously stated, "The Revenant" came in second place with a solid $38 million, earning $39.5 million total to date.
But the perhaps the biggest unreported news is just how well how many other films did this holiday season going up against the Force.
The common wisdom was that the film would just blow everything else out of the water. In fact, several films did well as a result of good counter programming, drawing those who were not caught up in all the "Stars Wars" hype, and who were looking for something different, or simply went to see more than one film.
Both comedies starring ex-"Saturday Night Live" members, Paramount’s."Daddy’s Home" and Universal’s "Sisters," have done extremely well, with "Daddy’s Home" doing much better than anticipated, heading towards $120 million. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" which is right now at $75.6 million, and heading towards $90 million, also did very, well appealing to a much younger crowd.
Also "Joy" and "The Big Short" have done respectable numbers as well.
The verdict is still out on "The Hateful 8" considering that the film’s extreme length and graphic violence may turn off a lot of filmgoers. But if the modestly budgeted film (which cost less to make than even "Joy"), pulls in $60-70, which it should, it’ll be considered a success; and the overseas box office should push the film well into profitability.
The only two films that could be considered straight out box office flops are "Point Break" (stick with Kathleen Bigalow’s original) and Will Smith’s "Concussion." No doubt he’s wishing that "Suicide Squad" couldn’t come fast enough.
1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens BV $41,630,000 Total: $812,011,043
2) The Revenant Fox $38,000,000 Total: $39,556,901
3) Daddy’s Home Par. $15,000,000 Total: $116,313,576
4) The Forest Gram. $13,088,000 Total: $13,088,000
5) Sisters Uni. $7,170,000 Total: $74,879,945
6) The Hateful Eight Wein. $6,351,000 Total: $41,473,820
7) The Big Short Par. $6,300,000 Total: $42,849,837
8) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip Fox $5,500,000 Total: $75,608,339
9) Joy Fox $4,500,000 Total: $46,555,608
10) Concussion Sony $3,050,000 Total: $30,968,278
11) Point Break WB $2,101,000 Total: $26,708,623
12) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 LGF $2,100,000 Total: $277,571,610