Sunday, December 27, 2015

Star Wars Searches For And Finds More Money Over Christmas While Will Ferrell And Mark Wahlbergs Daddy's Home Is A Smash Hit

Y'know what? I think this whole Star Wars thing just might catch on.

Yeah, I'm gonna be writing the phrase "Star Wars: The Force Awakens was number one at the domestic box office" for a little while. In fact, I'm gonna make the bold prediction that Rey, Finn, Poe and BB-8 will be numero uno at the box office for the next four weeks, and only Kung Fu Panda 3 on January 29th will be enough to topple the feature. But that's in the future; for now, The Force Awakens took in an additional $153 million, obliterating the previous record for biggest second weekend of all-time, which was Jurassic Worlds now "puny" $106.5 million. To boot, The Force Awakens only lost 38% from last weekend, which is much larger than the 2% dip of Avatar, but also far smaller than the second weekend drop of any major film of its kind. Oh, and thanks to its additional $133 million take from international markets this weekend, The Force Awakens climbed past $1 billion in record time, doing so in 12 days versus Jurassic World which crossed the 10 digit mark at the worldwide box office in 13 days.

To put things into perspective, take away the $57 million The Force Awakens made last weekend, and it's opening would have made $190 million. That means, from "pure" weekend to weekend, it only lost 18% from last weekend, which is insane considering how many fans of this monumental franchise likely went out to see it on its opening weekend. Considering it's made $544.5 million in only 10 days, it's a pretty safe bet this takes down Avatar (which grossed $760.5 million over it's initial release and a minor 2010 re-release) as the biggest movie of all-time domestically unadjusted for inflation. How much higher than that can it go? Hard to say right now, that's all gonna depend on how it holds over the next holiday week.

Just some more stray fun facts about The Force Awakens box office; on it's 8th day of release, this film surpassed The Phantom Menace to become the biggest Star Wars movie in its initial release unadjusted for inflation. When inflation is taken into account, it actually has already surpassed the ticket sales of Attack of The Clones (which would have made $433.7 million in 2015 dollars) and Revenge of The Sith (which would have made $494.7 million in 2015 dollars. It's also worth noting that The Force Awakens became easily the fastest movie to reach $500 million in history, doing so in only 10 days, handily beating the previous record held by Jurassic World, which smashed through that mark in 17 days.

Surprisingly, The Force Awakens didn't just force choke out any potential competition at the box office. In fact, Daddy's Home walked away with a legitimately impressive box office feat; it became the first movie to debut to over $30 million in the same weekend where another movie simultaneously grossed $150 million. Yeah, this newest Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy opened to impressive numbers, grossing $38,8 million over the weekend, serving as the fourth biggest opening weekend of Will Ferrells career and the fifth biggest for Mark Wahlberg. It also serves as a solid smash hit for Paramount Pictures, whose lack of films this year have led them to having one of their weakest box office years in recent memory,

Why did this one go so high? Well, its concept was easy to explain and convey in advertisements, the previous collaboration between Ferrell and Wahlberg (The Other Guys) has an extremely positive reception and its PG-13 rating meant families (I do distinctly remember seeing the trailer for this movie on screenings of Hotel Transylvania 2 and Goosebumps) could go and see it over the holiday weekend. At minimum, this one should cross $125 million domestically, and don't be shocked if this $50 million comedy goes higher than that.

Two years after American Hustle, David O. Russell released his newest movie, Joy, onto America multiplexes everywhere to decent results, with Joy grossing $17.5 million, which is an 8% decrease from the wide release opening weekend ($19 million) of American Hustle. Considering the marketing for this one lacked the glitz, glamour and ensemble nature of that 2013 David O. Russel joint, plus the fact that they bizarrely hid the crucial plot point that the titular character invented the Miracle Mop, I'd say this is a solid result, though it looks like it'll be the first Russell film since The Fighter in 2010 to miss the $100 million mark domestically.

Coming in at fourth place was Sisters, the new Tina Fey Amy Poehler comedy that showed strong strength at the box office for a second weekend haul of $13.8 million for a 10 day domestic haul of $37 million. Considering there's a whole other holiday week ahead of this release, it really wouldn't be shocking if these sisters managed to get past $75 million in their domestic run. Rounding out the top five was another release from last weekend, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, which took in an additional $12.8 million this weekend for a 10 day total of $39.5 million. That 10 day haul is still considerably behind what the first two movies took in in their first three days of existing.

Concussion came in at sixth place for a slightly under expectations $11 million opening.  That's not a "Bomb" per se, but frankly, it shows how much Will Smiths stock as a movie star has dipped in recent years that the utterly mysterious and gloomy Seven Pounds could open to almost 35% more seven years ago while this one had an even lower debut than his 2000 box office non-starter The Legend Of Bagger Vance. Still, Smiths recent lack of box office firepower isn't the only reason this one came up short, with a likely even bigger reason being it's more mixed reviews meaning it couldn't stand out out in a marketplace jam packed with dramas aimed adults.

Speaking of dramas aimed at adults, The Big Short opened in wide release this weekend in a more moderate theater count (1,585 locations to be precise) but fared surprisingly well, taking in $10.5 million over the weekend for a per theater average of about $6,637.  With Oscar nominations and theater count expansions likely imminent come January, look for The Big Short to stick around for a while. In eighth place, Point Break was nowhere near as extreme as its lead athletes, taking in only $10.2 million. That's not the most abysmal debut of the year, but for a $105 million action film, that ain't a good start.

In ninth place, a project from November emerged, specifically the final Hunger Games movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two, which took in another $5.3 million (a 10% dip from last weekend) for a 38 day total of $264,6 million. And rounding out the top ten was fellow November 2015 title Creed, which lost 915 theaters but still managed a knockout dip of only 8% for a fifth weekend of $4.6 million and a domestic haul so far of $96.3 million.

Opening in limited release this weekend was The Hateful Eight, which came in at 11th place in 100 70mm locations only to incredible results, grossing $4.53 million over the weekend for an incredible per theater average of $45,366. This $44 million drama goes into wide release Thursday, and it'll be interesting to see if it continues this level of success in the future. In 12th place was the PIXAR film The Good Dinosaur, dipping 13% from last weekend for a $3.7 million gross and a 33 day total of $105.3 million, which is way behind comparable titles at the same point,

Krampus continued to unearth merriment, losing more than half of its theaters but only losing 45% from last weekend for $2.23 million weekend haul and a current domestic haul of $40.5 million. Meanwhile, In The Heart Of The Sea absolutely collapsed this weekend, having the third biggest theater drop (that's a term that means how many theaters a film loses in its third weekend of release) by losing 2,418 locations. That resulted in a massive 70% plummet from last weekend,with it only grossing $1.015 million over the weekend for a meager 17 day total of $22.3 million.

Oh, and as if all of that weren't enough, there was one other major new release in the limited release stratosphere; The Revenant. Only going out in four locations, Leonardo DiCaprio squaring off with a bear and Tom Hardy resulted in a sizable $471,000 haul and a per theater average of $117,750, the second biggest per theater average of 2015.

The Top 12 for this weekend grossed a massive $284 million, the second biggest weekend of all-time. And as if this holiday season box office isn't insane enough already, the newest Quentin Tarantino film, The Hateful Eight, goes into over 1,800 theaters on New Year's Ever Thursday. And I have a hunch a lot of people are gonna heed the advice and go see a Star War over the next few days too.

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