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Will Star Wars: The Force Awakens Dominate The Christmas Box Office?

By Brian Gallagher — December 22nd, 2015

After shattering box office records left and right last weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens enters its second frame, poised to take even more records down. Director J.J. Abrams' sci-fi blockbuster faces four new releases opening on Christmas Day, Sony's Concussion, 20th Century Fox's Joy, Warner Bros.' Point Break and Paramount's Daddy's Home, with the studio's The Big Short expanding nationwide on December 23. The Hateful Eight and The Revenant also debut in limited release, before expanding nationwide over the next few weeks. Do any of these newcomers stand a chance against the behemoth that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens? According to the projections at Pro.BoxOffice.com, the short answer is: no.

Last weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered Jurassic World's opening weekend record of $208.8 million with a whopping $238 million. Star Wars: The Force Awakens also set new marks for highest Thursday preview gross with $57 million, the biggest Friday and single-day gross with $120.5 million, making it the first film ever to earn $100 million in a single day. It also became the fastest movie to reach both the $100 million and $200 million domestic box office milestones, while shattering the December opening weekend gross of $84.6 million. It also set new records for biggest IMAX Thursday night preview ($5.7 million), single-day ($14 million, Friday), and weekend ($30.1 million), and the highest per- theater average for a wide release ($57,568).

There is one record it didn't break, though, which Jurassic World was able to hold on to. Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $279 million in international territories this weekend, for a worldwide opening weekend tally of $517 million, just behind Jurassic World's mark of $524.9 million. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just the second movie ever to earn more than $500 million globally in one weekend, behind Jurassic World, and its international take of $279 million is the third best of all time, behind Jurassic World's $316.1 million, which includes a whopping $96 million from China, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, which earned $314 million in its international opening weekend back in 2011.

This weekend, director J.J. Abrams' blockbuster takes aim at another one of Jurassic World's records, largest second weekend. The record currently stands at $106.5 million, but we're projecting that Star Wars: The Force Awakens should easily be able to break that record with a second weekend tally of $116.7 million. We're guessing it will also break Jurassic World's records of being the fastest movie to reach $300 million, $350 million and $400 million, which could all fall sometime within this week. Of the four newcomers with the gigantic task ahead of them, Joy is expected to have the best weekend of the bunch.

Joy is projected to take in $18 million in its opening weekend, which will be good for a distant second place. Joy is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy's inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Jennifer Lawrence reunites with Silver Linings Playbook co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, along with Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd and Virginia Madsen.

Paramount's Daddy's Home is expected to follow in third place with $14.5 million with Concussion in fourth place with $12 million and Point Break rounding out the top 5 with $10 million. Of the four movies opening in wide release this weekend, Concussion has the best critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, with 65% "Fresh," with Joy scoring a 61% "Fresh rating. Daddy's Home is currently on the "Rotten" side with 38%, while there aren't enough reviews posted yet for Point Break to determine a Tomatometer score. Daddy's Home opens in 3,200 theaters this weekend, with Point Break opening in approximately 2,750 theaters, Joy opening in 2,700 theaters and Concussion arriving in 2,600 theaters. An exact theater count hasn't been given for The Big Short's expansion at this time, but we don't think it will crack the top 10 this weekend.

Rounding out the top 10 will be Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip ($7.4 million), Sisters ($6.2 million), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 ($3.1 million), Creed ($2.6 million) and The Good Dinosaur ($2.2 million).The Big Short has been performing well in limited release, taking in $705,527 from eight theaters over the weekend of December 11, pulling in a spectacular $88,191 per-screen average. Since we don't know how many theaters it will expand into starting tomorrow, it's tough to tell whether or not it will crack the top 10. Earlier this year, Steve Jobs opened to astounding limited release numbers, only to flounder when it opened nationwide. We'll have to wait and see if The Big Short can avoid the same fate. Also opening in limited release is The Hateful Eight, The Revenant and 45 Years

Looking ahead to next weekend, there aren't any new movies opening in wide release, but The Hateful Eight will be expanding nationwide starting Thursday, December 31. Paramount's stop motion movie Anomalisa also opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 30, and Yosemite opens on New Year's Day, January 1. The first true weekend of 2016 will be January 8, when The Forest and The Masked Saint hit theaters. Be sure to check back on Sunday to see how all of these new releases fared over the Christmas holiday, and come back next Tuesday for the final 2015 box office predictions. In the meantime, take a look at this weekend's predictions.

PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:

1Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2Joy
3Daddy's Home
4Concussion
5Point Break
6Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
7Sisters
8The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
9Creed
10The Good Dinosaur

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