The Bottom Line: Dec. 25, 2015: The Box Office Belongs to Star Wars

Kylo Ren The Force Awakens 02 600x350

Star Wars: The Force Awakensunprecedented box office domination annihilated any lingering doubts that George Lucas’ prequel trilogy had tarnished the franchise beyond repair. The Force Awakens soared into every theater in North America like an Imperial Star Destroyer and unleashed laser blasts on the competition to the tune of $247,966,675 (that’s nearly a quarter billion dollars). Two new films made their debut in the top five money earners this past weekend; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip ($14,287,159) and Sisters ($13,922,855) finished second and third respectively. The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2 , the past month’s reigning box office champ, dropped to fourth place ($5,892,683, down -48.4% from last week). Creed placed fifth with $5,013,055 (down -50.5% from last week).

How badly did the The Force Awakens’ weekend box office run slaughter the competition? Remember in the original Star Wars when the Death Star locked its sights on Alderaan and proceeded to blow it into a trillion tiny pieces? Picture that, but with J.J. Abrams at the controls. Here is a look at a few of the box office records Star Wars: The Force Awakens now owns.

  • Largest Friday, Opening Day, Single Day: $119.1 million
  • Previous Record: $91 million (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
  • Fastest to $100 Million: 1 Day Previous Record: 2 Days (Jurassic World)
  • Fastest to $250 Million: 4 Days
  • Previous Record: 5 Days (Jurassic World)
  • Domestic Opening Weekend: $247.9 million
  • Previous Record: $208.8 million (Jurassic World)
  • Worldwide Opening Weekend: $529 million
  • Previous Record: $524.9 million (Jurassic World)

Here’s a look at a few films that open December 25th.

Concussion (PG-13) 123 mins. – Many sports fans find the conversation surrounding the impact of concussions on professional athletes uncomfortable, and prefer to put the discussion off entirely. Embracing much of the science behind the traumatic effects of brain injuries on today’s athletes paints the modern fan in a similar light to the mobs of rapacious Romans cheering on ill-fated gladiators in the coliseums. Concussion looks to tackle the difficult subject matter head on, and it will be interesting to see how the uncomfortable yet timely subject matter affects the film’s box office run. Leading up to its release the critical buzz surrounding the film hasn’t been very good. On the bright side, Will Smith’s performance is receiving praise.

Joy (PG-13) 124 mins. – With films such as Three Kings, The Fighter, and Silver Linings Playbook, director David O. Russell has accrued plenty of goodwill from moviegoers over the years. Unfortunately, it appears that 2015 put much of that goodwill to the test. First his name was controversially attached to the tragic endeavor known as Accidental Love, and now critics aren’t warming up to his latest feature, Joy according to Rotten Tomatoes 40% of critics are unimpressed with his latest film. Russell is still riding high on a solid tide of hits, and with Jennifer Lawrence attached to the picture, people are going to hit the theaters to see Joy.

The Hateful Eight (R) 168 mins. /187 mins. (Roadshow) – For the last two decades, cinema’s cognoscenti have regarded Quentin Tarantino as one of the modern film industry’s greatest living directors. From the cadence of his character’s dialogue to his unique brand of stylized violence, audiences have long ago grown accustomed Tarantino’s cinematic idiosyncrasies. It’s then peculiar that critics are warning audiences to prepare themselves for a dark and brutal filmgoing experience. How much darker can we get than Mr Blonde’s little dance number, Hans Landa (The Jew Hunter) sipping milk while toying with his prey, or Shane from The Shield preparing to castrate Django? I suspect that The Hateful Eight’s super long running time (over 3 hours) may put a strain on most non-gorehounds tolerance for brutality.


The Bottom Line – There are some big names hitting theaters this holiday weekend, but none of them have any intention of dethroning Star Wars. The Revenant and The Hateful Eight are planting themselves at the tail end of the year in hopes of taking root inside Oscar voter’s minds right before awards season (The Revenant is opening to a limited release). Concussion, Joy, Daddy’s Home, and Point Break are nice alternatives to Star Wars-mania, and each of them will be happy with relatively modest box office runs — in the cases of Concussion and Joy, critical praise and awards nominations.

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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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