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Weekend Box Office: The Force Awakens Many More Records, Daddy's Home a Strong Second

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 12/27/15 at 09:34 PM CT

There was little doubt that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was going to be a Christmas monster when it continued to break daily records leading up to the holiday weekend. But there were plenty of newcomers this weekend as well. And in both wide and limited release, there were plenty of other reasons to happy with the releases. Hollywood must be cheering as well, as Star Wars, and the impressive lineup of new films, gave the top 12 a weekend total of $286.3 million - the second-best weekend on record, ever (last weekend was the top weekend of all time) and continuing to end the year on a massive high note.

1) STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

The question going in to this weekend wasn't if Star Wars: The Force Awakens was going to come out on top - but by how much. At $153.5 million. the film broke the record for biggest second weekend, obliterating the $106.5 million Jurassic World took in earlier in the year. The film dropped just 38.1% meaning the fans are still turning out in full force. Many people I talked to said they were going to wait for the crowds to die down a bit before seeing this, so I predict the film's long-term prospects as excellent. As it stands, The Force Awakens has earned $544,5, which means it is already the second-highest grossing film of 2015 in just two weeks (as well as the fifth-highest grossing domestic release of all time - topping The Dark Knight at $534 million). It is within spitting distance of the all-time domestic record of $760.5 set by Avatar, and there is no doubt in my mind it will break that total. The Force Awakens has already set every milestone record (quickest to cross $100, $150, $200, $300, $350, $400, $450 and $500 million and counting!) and it also holds every record for the 3-to-10 day totals. Finally, it has also reached $1 billion worldwide (also a record for that number - topping Jurassic World by one day), taking in $546 million on the international front. There is only one new film opening next week (the expansion of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight - which I personally will probably watch) and I don't see the film slowing down much at all. We'll see how many weeks it can stay atop the box office, but I have a feeling January is probably in the bag - as well as more records. The only one it still may have trouble catching is Avatar's worldwide total of $2,78 - but don't count it out. It could be the first film to break $1 billion domestically - if not, it will sure come close.

2) DADDY'S HOME

Opening strong in second place was the re-teaming of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in the comedy about dueling daddies. Taking in $38.3 million, the film exceeded expectation, as well as topping The Other Guys ($35.5 million) - the last time Ferrell and Wahlberg shared the screen. That is also good enough for the fifth-best Christmas opening of all time as well as the second-best live action film for Ferrell, coming in behind Talladega Nights ($47 million). For Walberg, it is his fifth-best opening, coming in behind The Perfect Storm ($41 million). With little in the way of comedies until January 15 when Ride Along 2 drops, it looks like Daddy's Home will have a nice run - with a total around the $125 - $150 million (or more even) a pretty good bet. In the end, there's a good chance it winds up as one of the highest-grossing films for both of the actors.

3) JOY

The latest team effort from director David O. Russell, and actors Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper (and Robert De Niro for that matter) opened in third place with $17.5 million - pretty much falling right in line with expectations. That opening was between American Hustle ($19.1 million) and The Fighter ($12.1 million) but the film will likely fall on the lower end of total grosses as Joy hasn't had the breakout critical or audience support of their previous efforts. While $100 million plus is the norm, Joy only looks to pull in around $50 to $60 million, though if it can ride some awards show love and continue to draw in a female audience, it still has a shot of hitting that $100 million mark. The next few weeks will paint a better picture for this one.

4) SISTERS

The Tina Fey, Amy Poehler comedy dipped a single spot, but held on incredibly well, losing under 1% of its audience from opening weekend. That means it pretty much matched last weekend's numbers with $13.8 million and it now stands at $37.1 million - easily topping its $30 million budget. Once again, the continued success of Sisters will depend on how it can draw in female audiences or if Joy will eat away at its audience. It should be interesting to see how these two dueling films play out in the coming weeks.



5) ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP

The trio of singing rodents managed to also hold on well to its audience, dipping a slight 11.1% over the holiday weekend. Granted, I think a lot of that has to do with the kids being out of school, but the $12.7 million it took in helped it to a new total of $39.3 million. The film will likely drop once the holidays are over, but it will hit at least $50 million - still going to be the lowest-grossing of the series thus far, but I doubt that will prevent yet another sequel from coming out.


Outside the top five: There were plenty of other films that drew a lot of attention, staring with Will Smith and the David vs. Goliath battle at the heart of Concussion. The drama pulled in $11 million (6th place). The film is a bit of a downer for the holiday season, coming in behind the equally depressing Seven Pounds ($14.5 million). That film went on to earn nearly $70 million, and Concussion (which earned an "A" Cinemascore) will wind up with around $50 million, though that total is not a given. Still, I'll take Smith in a a heady drama over junk like After Earth any day of the week.

The other big wide release was the remake of Point Break. The high-octane, undercover agent crime/action film landed in 8th place with $10.22 million. The only saving grace is that China seems to like it and its international total is at $43 million ($40 million from China). The $105 million production is still likely to lose money - and hopefully that will give anyone else looking to make a quick buck on a remake a chance to pause and rethink their lives. This one is going to exit quickly and will be lucky to make it to $25 million.

The Big Short expanded from 8 to 1585 screens and jumped 2681% (from 19th to 7th place). The film brought in $10.52 million in about 1000 less than any other film in the top eight. There is a good chance the film will continue to expand, as it already stands at $16 million. The film will have no problem making back its $28 million budget, especially as the awards season heats up.

On the limited release front, Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight earned $4.53 million (11th place) from 100 theaters for a very nice $43,366 per-theater average. The film opened only on select theaters in an extended three-hour cut - when it expands it will be a more audience-friendly (though still long) 2 hour 47 minute version. I expect the uncut one to be on home video - but this kind of response should spell good things when it opens wide.

The other big limited release was for The Revenant, the grueling drama from Alejandro González Iñárritu starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Opening in four theaters, the film brought in $471,000 with an impressive $117,500 per-theater average. The film will open wide in two weeks - becoming one of the first big films of 2016. With Oscar talk and a positive critical response, I expect this to have a great run as well.

Next week, as previously mentioned, the only film going wide will be The Hateful Eight. Following a successful limited run, this should play well, but I don't think it will come anywhere close to knocking Star Wars off its perch.

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