After four weeks of box office domination by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Lionsgate's franchise finale has finally fallen, to what is now the biggest debut of all time by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Box Office Mojo reports that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taken in an estimated $238 million during its opening weekend, which is more than enough to dethrone Universal's Jurassic World record of $208.8 million which was set back in June.
The opening weekend record is just one of many box office records that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already broken. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 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.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will introduce three new heroes into the Star Wars universe, John Boyega's Finn, Daisy Ridley's Rey and Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, along with Adam Driver's villainous Kylo Ren. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher are also reprising their iconic roles from the original trilogy, although very little is known about their characters. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens supporting cast includes Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke and Max von Sydow as an unidentified character.
Also opening in theaters this weekend was 20th Century Fox's Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Universal's Sisters, which opened in a distant second and third place this weekend, with $14.4 million and $13.4 million, respectively. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in 4,134 theaters, the 33rd widest release of all time, with Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip debuting in 3,653 theaters and Sisters arriving in roughly 2,962 theaters. Sisters currently sits at a 61%"Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, down from an 87% "Fresh" tally earlier this week, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens posting a 95% "Fresh" rating and Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip opening in "Rotten" territory with 14%. Rounding out the top 5 is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 with an estimated $5.6 million and Creed with $5 million.
Rounding out the top 10 is The Good Dinosaur ($4.3 million), Krampus ($3.7 million), In the Heart of the Sea ($3.4 million) and two surprising foreign films, Dilwale ($1.8 million) and Bajirao Mastani ($1.6 million). Dilwale opened in just 268 theaters, posting an impressive $6,996 per-screen average, with Bajirao Mastani arriving in 304 theaters for a $5,461 per-screen average. Also opening in limited release is Sony Pictures Classics Son of Saul, which is one of the top contenders for the Best Foreign Language Picture at the Oscars this year. The foreign drama took in $38,891 from three theaters for a $12,964 per-screen average. No box office data was released for Lionsgate's Extraction, Magnolia's The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun and Well Go USA's Mojin: The Lost Legend. It isn't known if there are plans to expand them nationwide.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Christmas Day falls on Friday this year, bringing four new movies in wide release, Sony's Concussion starring Will Smith, Paramount's Daddy's Home starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, 20th Century Fox's Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, and Warner Bros.' Point Break, starring Luke Bracey and Edgar Ramirez. Paramount's The Big Short will also expand nationwide on Wednesday, December 23. Opening in limited release is The Weinstein Company's The Hateful Eight, which opens with a unique roadshow event before expanding nationwide on December 31, 20th Century Fox's The Revenant, set to expand on January 8, and Sundance Selects' 45 Years.
Pro.BoxOffice.com is also projecting that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will earn $790 million during its domestic box office run, which is more than enough to break Avatar's all time record of $760.5 million. It's also completely possible that Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaks Avatar's global record of $2.7 billion as well, but we'll have to wait and see. Do you think Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a chance to be the biggest movie in cinematic history? Take a look at the top 10 for the weekend of December 18, and check back on Tuesday for next week's box office predictions.
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