By Dave McNary
Christmas Day is heralding yet another record for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Disney’s space saga is smashing the Christmas record with at least $40 million at 4,134 U.S. theaters on Friday. That will easily exceed the earlier record $24.6 million from Sherlock Holmes, which opened on Dec. 25, 2009.
The Force Awakens is expected to take in at at least $140 million this weekend, which will push its U.S. total past $500 million. The space saga racked up $391.1 million in its first week — obliterating the record of $296.2 million set in June by the first week of Jurassic World.
Paramount’s Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy’s Home looked likely to lead the rest of the pack at U.S. multiplexes with as much as $30 million. It took in a solid $1.2 million in preview screenings on Christmas Eve at 1,920 locations and is on pace to pull in at least $10 million on Christmas Day — portending a better-than-expected weekend of as much as $30 million at 3,271 sites.
Daddy’s Home, which carries a $50 million budget, is PG-13-rated with Sean Anders directing. Ferrell plays a mild-mannered stepfather forced to compete for the affections of his two stepchildren when Wahlberg’s fun-loving biological father Dusty arrives on the scene.
Fox’s Jennifer Lawrence drama Joy was also starting with a solid $7 million at 2,896 locations on Christmas Day, which would give it an opening weekend above $20 million, topping recent forecasts.
Sony’s Will Smith NFL drama Concussion appeared to be performing in line with recent estimates with abuot $5 million on Christmas and a $10 million weekend.