Weekend Box Office: Multiplexes Once Again Feel The Force

Hollywood rang in the new year on the right note as Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominated for a third straight weekend. The blockbuster sequel is now only $20 million away from overtaking Avatar to become the highest-grossing domestic film of all time. Quentin Tarantino’s violent western The Hateful Eight went wide to pleasing results while Daddy’s Home, Sisters and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip all continued to bring viewers in as well.

The Force Awakens eased 41% from last weekend’s record-setting numbers to earn an estimated $88.3 million from 4,134 screens. The new domestic total stands at $740.2 million. The J.J. Abrams blockbuster sailed past Jurassic World on Friday to become the biggest domestic-grossing film of 2015 and James Cameron’s Titanic to move into second place on the all-time list of domestic grossers. By Monday or Tuesday at the latest, it should pass Cameron’s Avatar to become the new king of the box office mountain.

While the box office success of Force is a remarkable accomplishment, its ascension to the top of the all-time domestic list should be taken with a little perspective. If one is to factor inflation into the mix, then the film still has quite a ways to go in order to really become the new box office king. Avatar’s adjusted gross today would be around $837 million, a milestone that Star Wars should cross by the end of January. Titanic’s adjusted gross might be a bit tougher to beat. By today’s numbers, the 1997 drama’s final tally is $1.16 billion.

In regards to the Star Wars franchise, Force will finish second. The adjusted total for the 1977 original is $1.53 billion, The Empire Strikes Back $845.3 million, Return of the Jedi $809.8 million and The Phantom Menace $777.5 million.

To truly enter into the all-time top ten, The Force Awakens needs to pass the $938 million earned by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which it should be able to accomplish by the end of its remarkable run.

Overseas markets have contributed $770.5 million so far, bringing the overall global total to $1.5 billion, moving past the final haul of last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7. The film will open in its final new market when it debuts in China on January 9th.

In other box office news, Paramount’s hit comedy Daddy’s Home eased only 25% over the New Year holiday weekend. The Will Ferrell/Mark Whalberg film earned an estimated $29 million from 3,342 screens, bringing its ten-day total to a great $93.6 million.

After a five day exclusive run in 70mm, the Weinstein Company’s The Hateful Eight went wide mid-week to 2,474 theaters where it earned $16.2 million over the weekend. The two-week total for the latest film from Quentin Tarantino has earned $29.5 million so far.

Universal’s R-rated comedy Sisters continued to show legs at the box office in its third week on 2,978 screens. The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy dipped only 11% this weekend to earn an estimated $12.6 million. The current total for the $30 million production stands at $61.7 million.

Rounding out the top five was Fox’s family flick Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip with $11.8 million from 3,474 theaters. After three weeks, the squeaky little rodents have earned $67.3 million.

The remainder of the top ten:

  1. Joy (Fox) $10.4 million (-39%); $38.7 million
  1. The Big Short (Paramount) $9 million (-14%); $33 million
  1. Concussion (2015) (Sony) $8 million (-24%); $25.3 million
  1. Point Break (2015) (Warner) $6.8 million (-30%); $22.4 million
  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two (Lionsgate) $4.6 million (-12%); $274 million

On Friday, Fox will put The Revenant into wide release while Focus Features will debut The Forest. The Revenant should post decent numbers while The Force Awakens will stay put at number one for a fourth weekend. I’m not even sure what The Forest is.

EDIT: All-time box office numbers (adjusted for inflation) revised per list on BoxOfficeMojo.com. 01/07/16. 

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