December 20, 2015

EARLY WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: “The Force Awakens” Stays Colossal On Saturday


After its history-making $120.5M opening day, there were two pre-existing Saturday models that STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney) could have followed.  The final Harry Potter was so front-loaded that it crashed by 53% from Friday to Saturday.  On the other hand, Jurassic World gently declined by 15%, similar to the 14% drop for the first Avengers.  Based on preliminary numbers at Deadline, the result was somewhere in the middle, with estimates of a 43-46% drop to $66-69M.  At the high end, that would put Day 2 just behind the all-time Saturday record-holders, $69.6M for both Jurassic World and The Avengers–and with numbers these huge, the final figure could easily move by a few million in either direction once everything is counted on Monday.

In any case, after a 2-day gross that will be at least $185M+, Force will breeze past the all-time $208.8M Jurassic weekend record, with no less than $235M by Sunday, and possibly as high as $245M or so.   That could put it at $350M by Christmas Eve–and that’s when the holiday box office really kicks in.  At that point, if Force behaves like a “normal” December opening, it could double that number by the end of New Year’s weekend–but since no December movie has ever remotely approached this opening weekend, which will almost triple the previous $84.6M Hobbit record, it’s impossible to know whether that will really happen, or if Force will burn out more quickly.  In any case, by January 3, after just 17 days of release, Force could easily find itself as one of the top 5 films in US box office history.

Tomorrow we’ll also have the blockbuster’s nearly-worldwide overseas weekend.

There was little movement in the rest of the weekend’s releases.  ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP (20th) had a modest Saturday matinee bump to $5.5M, which should put it into 2d place for the weekend at a comparatively insignificant $15M.  SISTERS (Universal) stayed at $5M on Saturday, and will probably end the weekend at $13M.  Holdovers THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 (Lionsgate) and CREED (MGM/New Line/Warners) will both be at $5-6M for the weekend.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."