Box Office: 'Star Wars' Rings in Record New Year's Day, Nears $700M in U.S.


By Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter

Breaking yet another record, Star Wars: The Force Awakens scored the top New Year’s Day gross of all time in North America with $34.5 million from 4,134 theaters as it approached the $700 million mark after overtaking both Jurassic World and Titanic, not accounting for inflation.

Avatar was the previous New Year’s champ with $25.3 million in 2009 (that was the last time the holiday also fell on a Friday). Force Awakens, finishing Friday with a cume of $686.4 million, is only days away from passing up Avatar ($760.8 million) altogether and becoming the top-grossing film of all time domestically, again not accounting for inflation. It should achieve the milestone sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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For New Year’s weekend, Star Wars is expected to earn a massive $90 million-plus, the best showing in history for the holiday weekend and pushing the movie’s North American cume to $742 million through Sunday. On Saturday, the Disney and Lucasfilm blockbuster leapt past Jurassic World ($652.3 million) and Titanic ($658.7 million) to become the No. 2 title of all time domestically.

Worldwide, Force Awakens finished Friday with a mammoth total of $1.39 billion — including $704.2 million internationally — as it overtook the final Harry Potter film ($1.34 billion) to become the No. 7 top-grossing title of all time. On Saturday, it will eclipse Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.41 billion) to claim the No. 6 spot.

The U.K. leads overseas with $133.5 million, one of the best showings of all time, followed by Germany ($73.9 million), France ($61.4 million), Australia ($47.1 million), Japan ($46.1 million), Spain ($24.7 million), Italy ($23.3 million) and Mexico (23.1 million). It’s not seeing the same big numbers in some parts of Asia, such as South Korea ($21.8 million). However, Force Awakens is counting on being a huge player in China, where it rolls out Jan. 9.

Related: U.K. Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Already Among Top 10 Films of All Time

As the crowded holiday box office winds down in North America, Daddy’s Home will stay safely parked at No. 2 domestically with a projected $30.2 million weekend, putting its domestic total at nearly $95 million through Sunday. The broad comedy, starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, earned $11.5 million from 3,342 theaters on Friday for Paramount and partner iRed Granite Pictures.

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is coming in a strong No. 3 in its nationwide expansion, grossing $6.4 million from 2,474 locations on Friday for a projected $17.2 million weekend. From The Weinstein Co., Hateful Eight, earning a B CinemaScore, first debuted Christmas Day in an exclusive 70mm run.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s R-rated comedy, Sisters, continues to prosper thanks to keen interest from females. The Universal title grossed an estimated $4.8 million from 2,962 locations on New Year’s Day. Placing No. 4, the R-rated film is expected to gross $12.5 million for the weekend and a domestic cume of $61.6 million.

Targeting younger tots, Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip rounded out the top five with $4.4 million on Friday for a projected $12 million weekend. That would put the movie’s domestic total at $67.6 million through Sunday

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Fox’s Joy, directed by David O. Russell and starring Jennifer Lawrence, grossed $4 million Friday from 2,896 theaters. One of many awards contenders waiting to open until the year-end holidays, Joy is expected to earn $10.5 million over the weekend for a cume of nearly $39 million.

The Big Short, the financial dramedy directed by Adam McKay, earned an estimated $3.4 million New Year’s Day from 1,585 locations, a modest footprint. Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, The Big Short is pacing to gross $9.5 million for the weekend for Paramount and New Regency for a domestic total north of $33 million.

Will Smith-starrer Concussion, from Sony and Village Roadshow Pictures, grossed $3.1 million from 2,841 theaters for a projected $8 million weekend and domestic total through Sunday in the $25 million range.

Point Break, Alcon Entertainment’s extreme sports extravaganza and loose remake of the 1991 cult classic, continued to falter considering its $100 million budget. Distributed by Warner Bros., the movie trails the other holiday films, and is expected to gross $7.3 million for the weekend for a domestic total just south of $23 million through Sunday.

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Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, looks to remain dominant at the specialty box office in its second weekend. The awards title is expected to gross $450,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for an outstanding location average north of $112,000.

New players include Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion Anomalisa, which debuted Wednesday in four theaters in L.A. and New York. For the weekend, the movie is targeting a location average north of $37,000.

Jan. 1, 9:10 a.m. Updated with Thursday numbers.

Jan. 2, 7:30 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.

Watch the 'Force Awakens’ cast demonstrate how to play with their action figures: