‘Star Wars’ reaches stellar all-time record of $238M
To say that the force is strong with this one is an understatement.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” brought in a galactic $238 million over the weekend, making it the biggest North American debut of all time, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
The Walt Disney earnings destroy the previous opening record set by Universal’s “Jurassic World,” which drew $208.8 million this summer.
Internationally, the film brought in $279 million, bringing its global gross to $517 million _ second only to “Jurassic World’s” global bow of $525 million. But the dinosaurs had the added benefit of China - “Star Wars” won’t open there until Jan. 9.
This is just the latest in a list of records set by J.J. Abrams’ film, the seventh in the franchise, which had analysts anticipating a debut anywhere from $150 million to $300 million.
The “X-factor” was quality. While “The Force Awakens” drew enormous presales, the film was kept under lockdown from the press and critics until only days before it was released to the public. Reviews turned out to be stellar (95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), as did early audience reaction, who gave the film an A CinemaScore.
Rentrak’s senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, said that’s the key element that may push the film to the $2 billion mark by the end of its run. Many are already going back for a second helping.
“The enthusiasm has really turned into a cultural event,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of theatrical distribution. “It’s unbelievable.”
“It feels historic. The marketing team has embarked on a two-plus year journey to create this event feel,” Hollis added. “It’s hard to think you could replicate this, but never say never.”
Males overwhelmingly drove the astronomical earnings, comprising 58 percent of the audience.
The film also drew mainly adults, who made up 71 percent of the audience. Teens accounted for only 9 percent, but those numbers may go up in the coming weeks as holiday vacations kick in.
But “Star Wars” didn’t fly alone this weekend. A few other movies attempted to provide some counterprogramming and ended up with comparatively decent results.
Almost a galaxy away, Fox’s animated “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” came in second with $14.4 million.
In third place, the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy “Sisters” earned an estimated $13.4 million out of the gates. A whopping 79 percent of audiences were female for the R-rated comedy. AP
N. AMERICA BOX OFFICE
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip