By Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter
J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens has blasted past $1 billion globally faster than any film in history, as well as leading the biggest Christmas weekend ever at the North American box office with a stunning $153.5 million for a domestic total of $544.6 million.
The Disney and Lucasfilm title hit $1 billion on Sunday, its 12th day in release. Jurassic World, which had the benefit of opening day-and-date in China, was the previous record-holder (13 days). Force Awakens also snatched the record for biggest second weekend from Jurassic World, which earned $106 million domestically in its sophomore outing.
Overseas, Force Awakens took in $133.3 million for a foreign total of $546 and worldwide haul of $1.09 billion. At this rate, there’s no saying how high the Star Wars reboot will ultimately fly. Domestically, it’s now assured of eclipsing Avatar ($760.5 million) to become the top-grossing title of all time. Some even believe it will top out north of $1 billion in North America.
Between Force Awakens and a flurry of new movies, revenue for the holiday weekend crossed $300 million for the first time ever, well ahead of the $269 million grossed in 2009. Four movies opened nationwide on Christmas Day — Daddy’s Home, Joy, Concussion and Point Break — while Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant launched in select theaters.
Daddy’s Home, starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, fared the best. The comedy enjoyed one of the biggest Christmas openings of all time with $39 million-$40 million from 3,271 locations, ahead of expectations. Daddy’s Home, from Paramount and Red Granite, cost $50 million and was produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods.
David O. Russell’s Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, placed No. 3 with a solid $17.5 million from 2,896 theaters. The $60 million Fox dramedy, earning a B+ CinemaScore, is among a handful of awards contenders that waited until the year-end holidays to open.
Another is Sony and Village Roadshow’s Concussion, starring Will Smith. Despite nabbing an A CinemaScore, the NFL drama placed No. 6 behind holdovers Sisters and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip with an estimated $11 million from 2,841 theaters. Heading into Christmas, tracking suggested the $35 million movie would open in the high-teens, although Sony was much more conservative in suggesting $8 million-$10 million.
Concussion found itself in a relatively close race with another awards hopeful, The Big Short, directed by McKay and starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Melissa Leo. The financial dramedy, only playing in 1,585 locations, exceeded expectations in grossing an estimated $10.5 million for the weekend for an early domestic total north of $15 million (the film expanded nationwide on Wednesday after opening in a limited run earlier this month).
Alcon Entertainment’s extreme-sports extravaganza Point Break is proving a major disappointment, considering its $100 million budget. A loose remake of the classic 1991 film, the movie debuted to $10.2 million after receiving a B CinemaScore.
Point Break has already opened in China, where it has grossed $40 million to date, and several other smaller Asian markets for a foreign cume so far north of $43 million. Alcon has suffered a string of box-office disappointments, including last year’s big-budget flop Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp.
Universal’s Sisters and Fox’s Road Chip performed nicely in their second weekends. Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, placed No. 4 with $13.9 million for a domestic total of $37.1 million, while Road Chip rounded out the top five with $12.7 million for a domestic cume of $39.3 million. Sisters is benefiting from appealing to females, while Road Chip caters to families and younger tots.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s weekend is the most lucrative corridor of the year in terms of moviegoing, and the new films are hoping for strong multiples even with Force Awakens dominating much of the marketplace.
At the specialty box office, The Hateful Eight did impressive business in its exclusive 70mm roadshow, grossing $4.5 million from 100 theaters for a location average of $45,366. The movie’s performance so far is a needed win for The Weinstein Co., which spent millions to fulfill its promise to Tarantino to make the revenge Western available in film.
The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, also soared in its debut, grossing $471,000 million from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $117,750, the second-best showing of the year to date. Fox and New Regency are partners on the movie.