The Bottom Line: Dec. 18, 2015: This Week it’s All About Star Wars

Phasma Star Wars The Force Awakens

Last Weekend, Star Wars. There, I said it. I just had to address the 500 pound Wampa in the room before moving on to last weekend’s box office gross — trust me, I will circle back to discussing The Force Awakens.

The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2 continued its run of box office dominance, making $11,413,316 (down -39.5% from the previous week). In its opening weekend, the Ron Howard picture, In The Heart of the Sea, met studio projections with a box office take of $11,053,366. Both in their third week, The Good Dinosaur ($10,314,223, down -32.7%) and Creed  ($10,121,137, down -32.5%) sit in third and fourth place respectively. Krampus ($8,422,755, down -48.3%) closes out the top five, dropping down from holding down second place last week.

Here’s a look a few films that open December 18th.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13) 136 mins. – This film has the potential to make ALL THE MONEY. Earlier this year, Jurassic World skulked out of the shadows like a hungry Indominus rex, and devoured the global box-office, earning ($1,668,984,926). The Force Awakens is the one film in the foreseeable future with a legitimate shot of usurping Jurassic World’s spot on the global box office rankings. Here are a few box-office records that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a chance to shatter.

  • Largest Friday, Opening Day, Single Day: $91 million (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
  • Largest Saturday: $69.6 million (Jurassic World)
  • Largest Sunday: $57.2 million (Jurassic World)
  • #1 Movie Weekend Market Share: 84.5% of Top 12 (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Fastest to $100 Million: 2 Days (Jurassic World)

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (PG) 86 mins. – AKA, the visual effects heavy fantasy movie about annoying CGI creatures that isn’t Star Wars. For anyone concerned that the franchise peaked with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel, fear not; the franchise is doing everything that it can to bounce back from the disappointment that was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. With over half a billion dollars in box-office revenue, don’t expect this franchise (or its terrible puns) to end its “relationchip” (I couldn’t resist) with audiences any time soon.

Sisters (R) 118 mins. – Sisters doesn’t stray far from the classic “odd couple” movie template. What the film lacks in originality it makes up for with personality. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two comedic geniuses with undeniable chemistry, and they are going to need every last ounce of goodwill and support from their massive fan bases because so far critics are dropping unfavourable reviews on their team-up movie. Right now the film is tracking to open somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million dollars domestically ($20 million shy of its budget) which isn’t terrible. Sisters is exactly the kind of film that can accrue solid box office earnings in weeks two and three due to strong word of mouth.

Son of Saul (R) 107 mins. – If you’re interested in a gripping, emotionally draining movie that’s likely to pop up on true cinephile’s best of year lists, then look no further than Son of Saul. Son of Saul tells the story of a Hungarian-Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz, tasked with aiding the Nazi’s with their mass extermination process. The film is currently sits at 92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and is opening to a limited release in order to receive Awards consideration. If you’re in one of the few cities where the film is showing, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The Bottom Line A decade after the Star Wars franchise’s last major installment, an entire generation of moviegoers have grown up without knowing the grave disappointment of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy.  Between the bitter fan reaction towards the prequels and Star Wars head honcho himself, George Lucas, divesting himself of the IP, fans have reasons to believe the franchise’s new corporate overlords will do everything they can to restore Star Wars to its former glory.

Is Star Wars: The Force Awakens a platform to indoctrinate an entire generation of kids into commanding their parents to shell out mucho dinero for toys, video games, breakfast cereals, cell phone cases, juice cups, clothing, key chains, comic books, Blu-rays and on and on? Most certainly. However, even the most cynical critic has to admit that Disney (who now owns Star Wars) has too much riding on the franchise to muck it up with a half-assed blockbuster movie. Disney invested billions of dollars in Star Wars because they see this property becoming a long term cash cow, and the road to 20 years of successful Star Wars tie-ins relies on them coming out of the gate with a great film.  Can The Force Awakens attain the euphoric heights of Star Wars in most fan’s eyes? Probably not, but setting the quality bar higher than a Wookie on a ladder is essential for regaining the faith of audiences  as Star Wars hyper-jumps into its next era.

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About the author

Victor Stiff

Born and raised in Toronto, Victor has spent the past decade using his love and knowledge of the city to highlight and promote significant cultural events such as TIFF, The IIIFA awards, and the Anokhi Gala. He is an avid reader of Sci-fi and Horror and constantly sits through indie film marathons in rabid anticipation of the genre’s next great film auteurs. He also contributes sci-fi and fantasy movie reviews to www.zone-six.net

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