With the hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it wouldn't surprise anyone if it ended up becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2015, most likely breaking a few box office records along the way. We've known for quite some time that this highly-anticipated sci-fi adventure will be released in IMAX theaters, but today we have a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, which reveals the movie will essentially dominate IMAX theaters for an entire month. Director J.J. Abrams' sequel will be shown in every IMAX domestic theater, and most of its international theaters, where it will be the only movie to screen during a four-week run.
IMAX struck a similar deal with Warner Bros. for The Hobbit trilogy, where the company reserved all of their screens for this one movie, but that deal was brokered four years ago, and they haven't made one since, until now. The movie will screen in domestic theater chains such as Regal, AMC and Cinemark, along with other venues with IMAX screens such as museums. While these museums don't typically show first-run movies, they often screen sci-fi/outer space movies such as Interstellar and Gravity. IMAX CEO Greg Foster wouldn't offer any specifics about Star Wars: The Force Awakens' IMAX rollout, but he did release a brief statement.
"Star Wars: Episode VII is the ultimate crossover movie - it crosses over to everyone."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already expected to shatter the IMAX opening weekend box office record set just a few months ago by Jurassic World. Universal's blockbuster opened with a massive $44.2 million from IMAX screens worldwide, breaking the $28.8 million record set by 2013's Iron Man 3. Jurassic World took in $21 million from 363 domestic IMAX screens, and $23.2 million from 443 international IMAX screens. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to open between 375 and 400 IMAX theaters domestically, and over 400 screens internationally. A final theater count won't be available for quite some time, since IMAX traditionally opens new theaters in the fall.
Director J.J. Abrams already confirmed that he shot a key action sequence with IMAX cameras, so it isn't surprising that the movie will be given an exclusive debut in IMAX theaters. The move will also affect movies debuting before and after Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well. November releases Spectre and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will have to wrap up their IMAX runs before December 18, while the December 11 release In the Heart of the Sea will only get one week in IMAX before Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes over.
The Revenant, which opens in limited release on Christmas Day before expanding nationwide on January 8, may get an IMAX release starting January 15. Disney's The Finest Hours, which hits theaters January 29, has been confirmed for an IMAX release, but the company hasn't confirmed any other films past that. If Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens as big as some are expecting, it could easily run in IMAX theaters and traditional theaters throughout the spring. Are you excited to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX?