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Weekend Box Office Report: December 18-20, 2015

12.20.2015

Star Wars blasts box office records!

The ultimate fan favorite franchise finally returned theaters this weekend with astronomical results as STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS soared to a record-obliterating opening of $238 million!

There was never much doubt that the most-anticipated sequel in history would be a success, it was a just question of how big it could be. The answer is: big enough to break records for highest Thursday preview ($57 million), biggest Friday ($120 million), biggest December debut, biggest IMAX weekend, highest per-screen average for a wide release ($57k per-screen), and the highest domestic opening weekend that squashes the previous record set by this summer's JURASSIC WORLD with $208 million.

Director J.J. Abrams' continuation of George Lucas' galactic adventure series is also at a worldwide total of $517 million, which falls just short of JURASSIC WORLD's $524 million global opening. (Of course, THE FORCE AWAKENS has probably also made that much already just in merchandising... and the movie has yet to open in China, which would have unquestionably pushed its worldwide total past the dinosaurs.)

Its opening weekend alone has zoomed past the full domestic totals of some of 2015's biggest hits including THE MARTIAN ($223 million), CINDERELLA ($201 million), MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION ($195 million) and SPECTRE ($193 million).

It remains to be seen if the latest STAR WARS (which reportedly cost around $200 million) can reach the phenomenal $760 million finish set by AVATAR in 2009, but the positive (if not entirely effusive) reaction from moviegoers who've waited a decade for more big-screen lightsabers and blasters could help move it into the neighborhood. THE FORCE AWAKENS is currently at a 95% critical average on Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite the colossal competition, the weekend's other new wide releases managed to attract some viewers. The fourth (!!!) entry in the CG/live-action family franchise ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP opened in second with $14.4 million (although it's quite possible that a significant chunk of that was from moviegoers who couldn't get STAR WARS tickets).

The previous release in the series ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED started out with $23.2 million in 2011 when opening against SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS, and went on to a domestic finish of $133 million.

Opening in third place was the new R-rated comedy SISTERS with $13.4 million. The latest Tina Fey/Amy Poehler collaboration (which cost a reported $30 million) came in lower than their BABY MAMA's $17.4 million debut back in 2008, and has a 62% Rotten Tomatoes score.

After retaining the top spot for a month, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 slipped down to fourth place with $5.6 million as the series conclusion passed $250 million domestic and nears $600 million worldwide. CREED was in fifth with another $5 million, still standing strong in the top half of the chart after four weeks in release with a domestic total of $87.9 million.

Pixar's THE GOOD DINOSAUR was in sixth with $4.2 million and still hasn't lumbered to the $100 million mark yet. The holiday horror movie KRAMPUS followed in seventh with $3.7 million and now has a $34.8 million total on a reported $15 million cost.

Director Ron Howard's IN THE HEART OF THE SEA had a whale of a drop from second place to eighth with $3.4 million, down 68% from its opening last weekend. The bottom of the chart had Hindi films DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI (currently battling for box office bucks in India) jumping into the Top 10 despite only being released on a couple hundred screens each.

Outside the chart, we waved goodbye to SPECTRE, THE NIGHT BEFORE, THE PEANUTS MOVIE and the acclaimed dramas SPOTLIGHT and BROOKLYN. The Holocaust drama SON OF SAUL opened in limited release with a $12k per-screen average.

Next weekend presents a number of challengers to the Resistance and First Order, including Will Smith's football drama CONCUSSION, the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy DADDY'S HOME, filmmaker David O. Russell's latest team-up with Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in JOY, the superfluous remake of POINT BREAK, the nationwide expansion of the financial meltdown drama THE BIG SHORT, the 70mm roadshow of Quentin Tarantino's THE HATEFUL EIGHT in 100 locations, and the limited release of Alejandro González Iñárritu's THE REVENANT. Merry Christmas!

What is your favorite STAR WARS movie? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens $238 M
NEW
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip $14.4 M
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3. Sisters $13.4 M
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4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Pt 2 $5.6 M $254.4 M
5. Creed $5 M $87.9 M
6. The Good Dinosaur $4.3 M $96.6 M
7. Krampus $3.7 M $34.8 M
8. In the Heart of the Sea $3.4 M $18.6 M
9. Dilwale $1.8 M
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10. Bajirao Mastani $1.6 M
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ACCESS BOX-OFFICE ARCHIVES HERE

Source: Box Office Mojo

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