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Box office hits and misses: Star Wars breaks the billion-dollar record

Star Wars The Force Awakens
The box-office records continue to fall like snow on Hoth for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with the seventh installment of the sci-fi saga earning a massive $153.5 million over the Christmas weekend on its way to becoming the fastest film of all time to hit the $1 billion mark worldwide.

The Force Awakens beat the record set by Jurassic World earlier this year by crossing $1 billion in just 12 days (Jurassic World took 13 days to hit that mark) — a feat made even more impressive by the fact that the Star Wars sequel hasn’t even opened yet in the second-largest market in the world, China. While Jurassic World had already opened globally at this point in its run, The Force Awakens won’t open in China until January 9.

The billion-dollar record wasn’t the only one set by The Force Awakens over the weekend, either. The film’s ticket sales gave it the best second-weekend gross of all time and the best Christmas weekend gross of all time, too.

To put things in perspective, the $153.5 million the film earned in its second weekend in theaters would rank 10th on the list of the biggest opening weekends of all time. At this point, it’s not a question of whether The Force Awakens breaks the all-time domestic and worldwide box-office records held by James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar, but how soon it will break those records and what that new record will become.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens $153.5M $544.6M $1,090.6M
2. Daddy’s Home $38.8M $38.8M $43.2M
3. Joy $17.5M $17.5M $19.5M
4. Sisters $13.9M $37.1M $40M
5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $12.7M $39.4M $47.5M
6. Concussion $11M $11M $11M
7. The Big Short $10.5M $16M $17.4M
8. Point Break $10.2M $10.2M $53.4M
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 $5.3M $264.6M $616.8M
10. Creed $4.6M $96.3M $106.5M

Although there was little question which film would win the weekend, there were some surprises among the films competing for second place at the box office.

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s comedy Daddy’s Home outperformed most pundits’ predictions with a $38.8 million debut, while the Jennifer Lawrence’s drama (and Oscar darling) Joy enjoyed a decent $17.5 million opening.

Less impressive was the wide release for Concussion, the ripped-from-the-headlines drama about the NFL’s concussion cover-up that stars Will Smith. The film earned a modest $11 million, which puts it on the low end of opening weekends for movies starring Smith. The remake of Point Break fared even worse with a $10.2 million debut that falls far short of the film’s reported $100 million budget.

Quentin Tarantino’s western The Hateful Eight fell just shy of the weekend’s top ten movies with a $4.5 million debut that’s actually pretty impressive given the very limited release it had in just 100 theaters, and the same could be said of Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant, which earned more than $471,000 despite being screened in just four theaters.

Next weekend will almost certainly continue the record-breaking run for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and will likely feature many of this weekend’s films occupying similar spots in the box-office rankings and wider releases for some of the Academy Award favorites. The most notable films debuting over the New Year’s weekend include Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion animated dramedy Anomalisa and the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel, Sword of Destiny.

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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