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Weekend Box Office: Star Wars Rings in New Year with Records, Hateful Eight Opens Solid

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By Chris Kavan - 01/03/16 at 09:49 PM CT

With only one major new release to contend with, it was really no contest for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it once again took the box office crown with more records to add to its collection. But Quentin Tarantino wasn't about to back down and although The Hateful Eight may not have opened to the numbers of Djano Unchained or Inglourious Basterds, it was another solid debut for the director. It was also a good weekend for comedies as both Sisters and Daddy's Home (and even The Chipmunks) enjoyed very good holds as audience looked for laughs instead of dramas in the new year.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't look to slow down any time soon. With an estimated $88.3 million (a total that could rise) the film crossed the $700 million mark in 17 days - the previous record holder was Avatar, which took a bit longer (42 days) to hit that mark. It looks like it will only be a day or two before Star Wars tops Avatar as the highest-grossing domestic film of all time, as it is just $20 million shy with a total of $740.2 million. According to Box Office Mojo, The Force Awakens has shattered 40 records since its opening. It also sits at $1.51 billion worldwide - the sixth-highest grossing film of all time. It should pass Furious 7, The Avengers and Jurassic World within a week. The big question remains if it can top Titanic ($2.186 billion) and Avatar ($2.788 billion) to hold the highest-grossing worldwide crown as well. A big part of that will be how it opens in China next weekend. Star Wars doesn't have the kind of recognition it has here (the originals never even screened in China) so it will be interesting to see what kind of response it gets. Nevertheless, Star Wars should have no problem holding on another week - its 40.8% drop is a bit high for a New Years weekend, but considering the numbers it has put up, I don't think many are worrying about that right now.


Proving that audiences are indeed in the mood for laughter, the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy's Home held up remarkably well, dipping just over 25% in its second weekend. The dueling fathers brought in another $29 million, giving the film a new total of $93.6 million. Being the best comedy out right now - it looks to be on Ferrell's best, probably winding up smack dab between Talladega Nights ($148 million) and Elf ($178 million). The film will double its $50 million budget sometime in the next few days. It's a great way to end/start the year for Paramount.


Quentin Tarantino's latest venture, a western of sorts, opened in third place with $16.8 million. Most had expected the film to earn at least $20 million, but the rollout for this (gradually adding theaters from Tuesday through Friday) probably led to a somewhat lower weekend total. In total, the film now stands at $29.5 million and it looks like it will hit its $44 million budget - and, depending on its legs, should wind up around at least $60 million with $75 million not out of the picture. Without a huge star ala Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio, or a bombastic revenge plot - the film was always going to be a harder sell than Django or Basterds. The bigger question for the longevity of this film is how it stands up to The Revenant - which will go wide on January 8th. If it can hold up reasonably well against the drama, it should wind up with decent numbers.


Holding strong to its fourth-place position, the Tina Fey, Amy Poehler comedy Sisters had an amazing hold, dipping just 11.3% and taking in $12.5 million and giving the film a new total of $61.7 million. That more than doubles its $30 million budget and it should hold up well in the next few weeks as well with a $80 million total likely but $90 million not out of the question. As long as the film can hold onto its theater count, it should have a very good January run ahead of it.


Also managing to hold on to its 5th place position this week was the family-friendly sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. In fact, the film had the best hold out of any film in the top 10, dropping just 10.2% over last weekend. The animated singing stars took in $11.8 million for a new total of $67.3 million. While it still isn't enough to dig itself out of last place among the Chipmunk films, if it manages to do well enough internationally, it's very possible we'll see yet another film in this series manage to weasel itself into theaters once again.

Outside the top five: Creed, the Rocky spinoff that could, brought in $3.9 million (12th place) with was enough for the film to cross the $100 million mark. It now stands at $103.4 million - not bad for an aging Italian Stallion and a guy named Adonis.

The Revenant continued to do boffo business in limited release. Still playing in just four theaters, the film had a virtual tie with its debut weekend with $450,000 (off just 5.2%) and still-sizzling $112,500-per-theater average. It's going wide on the 8th, so we'll see how it stands up to general audiences.

Next week, besides The Revenant expanding, we only have the horror film The Forest (based on an actual location in Japan known as the Suicide Forest) which, despite starring the super-lovely Natalie Dormer, I doubt will make much of an impact on the box office.


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