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.
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.
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
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.
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: