Weekend Forecast: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Faces Five New Wide Releases Over Christmas Weekend
Featured Stories - on December 23, 2015 by Daniel Garris
Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens looks to continue its historic run this weekend by setting a new all-time second weekend record with ease. Given the film's strong word of mouth, the film's strong daily holds thus far for a film of its size and the bump the film will receive from Christmas falling on Friday this year, BoxOffice expects Star Wars: The Force Awakens to fly past the current all-time second weekend record of $106.59 million, which was set by Jurassic World earlier this year. Even with five new wide releases entering the marketplace this weekend, BoxOffice sees The Force Awakens more than doubling the grosses of the five new films combined this weekend.
In addition to the weekend's five new wide releases (Paramount's Daddy's Home and The Big Short, Fox's Joy, Sony's Concussion and Warner's Point Break), second weekend holdovers Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Sisters will also be in the middle of the box office mix this weekend. With so many choices in the marketplace, BoxOffice feels there won't be all that much separation between second place and seventh place this weekend.
This weekend will also see The Weinstein Company release the 70mm roadshow version of The Hateful Eight in 100 locations on Christmas Day. The Quentin Tarantino directed western will go into traditional wide release on Thursday, December 31.
- Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg previously teamed up in 2010's successful The Other Guys, which grossed $119.2 million in total domestically.
- There is a history of Christmas weekend comedies aimed at family audiences performing well; with one of the more recent examples being 2012's Parental Guidance, which opened with $14.6 million and went on to gross $77.3 million in total.
- The film is positioned nicely to serve as this weekend's primary alternative for family audiences with older children, who have already seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens at least once. Daddy's Home will also be receiving the weekend's largest location count (3,271 locations) among the weekend's five new wide releases.
- While it is finally starting to pick up the pace a bit in the past few days, Daddy's Home is still generating the lowest amount of tweets among the weekend's new wide releases.
- Critical reviews for the film are poor, as it has a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer of just 27 percent so far. However, Daddy's Home is also the type of film that could prove to be critic proof, at least out of the gate.
- Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell have experienced previous late-year success with both 2012's Silver Linings Playbook (which grossed $132.09 million in total domestically) and 2013's American Hustle (which grossed $150.12 million in total domestically).
- Even with the film's generic title likely having a negative effect, Joy has generated the highest level of tweets on Twitter the past two weeks among the weekend's five new wide releases.
- While adults don't sound as excited for Joy as they were for American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, Joy being rated PG-13 instead of R will make it more accessible in comparison for Lawrence's younger fans.
- The film currently has a mixed 60 percent Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes. Mixed critical reviews aren't a good sign for a film like Joy, especially since they have diminished the film's chances at receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
- While Joy is generating higher tweet totals than the weekend's other new wide releases, it's only doing so by a relatively small margin and Lawrence's presence will also likely inflate the film's online activity levels.
The Big Short
- The film boasts a strong cast that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.
- The Big Short has performed very nicely in platform release, with a twelve-day gross of $1.47 million from just 8 locations.
- Thanks to strong critical reviews (the film has a healthy 85 percent Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes) and four Golden Globe nominations, The Big Short is an awards season player. With that in mind, the film is highly likely to have the strongest holding power of the weekend's new wide releases.
- With a relatively modest location count of 1,585 The Big Short will be at a disadvantage this weekend compared to the weekend's other new wide releases. Opening on Wednesday will also scale back the film's weekend performance a bit as well.
- When it comes to this weekend, the film's financial crisis subject matter may not be as Christmas friendly as the subject matter of many of the weekend's other choices to a sizable percentage of moviegoers.
- The film's subject matter of concussions in professional football is a very relevant and current topic among sports fans.
- Although some of the conversation has been more about the film's subject matter than the film itself, Concussion has generated the second highest level of Twitter activity among the weekend's five new wide releases over the past two weeks.
- While Will Smith has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama for his performance, critical reviews for the film are mixed (like Joy, Concussion also has a current 60 percent Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes).
- Will Smith's drawing power at the box office has diminished significantly in recent years. After Earth grossed just $60.5 million in total domestically back in 2013, while Focus finished its domestic run with $53.9 million earlier this year.
- With a target audience of older male moviegoers, potential for Concussion will be limited by the continued strength of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Even after 24 years, the original Point Break still has a significant following.
- Twitter activity for the film has been very respectable, though a noteworthy percentage of the film's tweets have been negative in tone.
- Online activity levels for the film have been inflated by the film's early openings in Asia earlier in the month.
- The film is likely to be the most front-loaded of the weekend's five new wide releases.
- With a target audience of older male moviegoers, potential for Point Break will be limited by the continued strength of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Top 10 Forecast
Thanks in large part to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, BoxOffice projects this weekend's top ten films will total $275.5 million. That would represent the second largest unadjusted top ten total of all-time, behind only the $302.7 million top ten total of last weekend. The projected top ten total for this weekend would also represent the largest unadjusted top ten Christmas weekend total ever. The current top ten Christmas weekend record is the $255.2 million top ten total of December 25 - 27, 2009, which was led by the $75.6 million second weekend take of Fox's Avatar.
This weekend's projected top ten performance would represent a 54 percent jump over the $178.5 million top ten total of the same weekend last year, which was led by the $40.9 million second weekend take of Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and also saw the $31.1 million debut of Disney's Into the Woods and the $30.6 million start of Universal's Unbroken.
Check out our complete forecast in the table below.
|Title||Release Date||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total Through Sunday, Dec 27
|Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Dec 18, 2015||Disney||$163,000,000||$546,000,000|
|Daddy's Home||Dec 25, 2015||Paramount||$18,000,000||$18,000,000|
|Joy||Dec 25, 2015||Fox||$17,000,000||$17,000,000|
|Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip||Dec 18, 2015||Fox||$16,500,000||$44,000,000|
|The Big Short||Dec 11, 2015||Paramount||$14,000,000||$20,000,000|
|Sisters||Dec 18, 2015||Universal||$13,500,000||$37,200,000|
|Concussion (2015)||Dec 25, 2015||Sony / Columbia||$12,500,000||$12,500,000|
|Point Break (2015)||Dec 25, 2015||Warner Bros.||$9,500,000||$9,500,000|
|The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2||Nov 20, 2015||Lionsgate||$6,500,000||$265,800,000|
|The Good Dinosaur||Nov 25, 2015||Disney||$5,000,000||$106,700,000|
|Creed||Nov 25, 2015||Warner Bros. / New Line||$3,700,000||$95,200,000|
|The Hateful Eight||Dec 25, 2015||Weinstein Company||$3,500,000||$3,500,000|
Daniel Garris, Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.