'Star Wars' runs record box office to $812M
Not even Leonardo DiCaprio can stop the Star Wars phenomenon.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the newly minted record holder for all-time domestic box office, pulled in another $41.6 million this weekend, according to studio estimates.
The Force Awakens increased its record domestic haul to $812 million and added another $104.3 million in the rest of the world — including a $53 million opening weekend in China, a new Saturday/Sunday record there. It now stands as the No. 3 movie of all time globally with $1.7 billion, having just passed Jurassic World.
The movie finished in first place for a fourth weekend and narrowly defeated DiCaprio's wilderness thriller The Revenant, which made its debut with $38 million in nationwide release ($39.6 million total since opening Christmas Day in limited release).
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest effort surpassed Force Awakens on Friday ($14.4 million to $10.8 million) but J.J. Abrams' Star Wars had a big Saturday “where kids were probably going back to see it for the third time," says Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "It’s unstoppable."
While star power at the movies isn't what it used to be, with movies rising and falling more on their concepts than their A-listers, "DiCaprio just seems to have an ability to draw all audiences no matter what he’s in, whether it be The Wolf of Wall Street or something like The Revenant, which is a violent, super-intense epic."
The Revenant also is helped by being a movie that begs to be seen on a big screen and Iñárritu's cache after last year's best director win for Birdman, says Dergarabedian. All that will help the film and DiCaprio's chances in awards season.
"The Oscars are not the Box Office Awards, they’re not the people’s Choice Awards, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a movie with broad-based support from a general audience," Dergarabedian says. "It adds a certain weight to a movie to have the popular vote as well as the critical vote in terms of Oscar potential."
The top five was rounded out by the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy's Home ($15 million), Natalie Dormer's horror newcomer The Forest ($13.1 million) and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's raunch-fest Sisters ($7.2 million).
There are very few box-office worlds left to conquer for The Force Awakens, says Dergarabedian, and what's been most impressive is how quickly it has smashed everything in sight. "The movie’s been out less than a month, and it’s literally rewritten the record books."
The Force Awakens is closing in on $1 billion in North America and $2 billion worldwide, but Dergarabedian says topping Avatar's $2.8 million global record could be difficult. "It’s like aerodynamics with a car — you can hit 200 mph but to get to 201, 202, 203, you have to punch pretty hard through that air."
Still, he adds, "I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of Star Wars at the box office."
Final figures are expected Monday.