Records shattered at the box office this week, as the galaxy far, far away returned in a massive way.
As you probably know by now, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (read our review) came in the top spot this weekend, grossing an astonishing $238 million in its first three days. That breaks the domestic opening weekend record that was set by Jurassic World earlier this year ($208.8 million), and it completely blew The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's previous December debut mark ($84.6 million) out of the water. In fact, Star Wars 7 topped that figure in just the first day of its release, becoming the first film in history to open with $100+ million in the month of December.
Without question, Star Wars will play very well throughout the holidays and into the winter season. The film has received extremely positive word-of-mouth from critics and fans alike, calling it the rousing return-to-form that many were hoping it could be. Some moviegoers have already gone back for multiple viewings, and the wave of positive buzz and momentum Force Awakens is riding will remain strong for the next several weeks. Viewers were bursting with anticipation to see the saga come back, and now that they know it's good, Avatar's all-time number is within its sights.
In a very distant second is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip with $14.4 million in its opening weekend. The animation/live-action hybrid obviously got overwhelmed by Star Wars, and it resulted in the lowest debut for an installment in this franchise. It didn't help that critical reception was very poor, with universally negative reviews. If people got sold out of The Force Awakens, Chipmunks was not exactly an appealing consolation prize. It can be argued that it did well for itself, but this fourth entry in the series had diminishing returns when compared to its predecessor, and it's unlikely to turn things around any time soon.
The new comedy Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, debuted at #3 with $13.4 million. Again, there was no way it could contend with The Force Awakens, but it is still a respectable figure. Sisters scored generally positive marks from critics (read our review), which gave it some nice counter-programming appeal for people looking to avoid the crowds of Star Wars. The movie is not going to set any personal bests for its two leading ladies, but it's promising that it did not bomb in its first three days. Its production budget was only $30 million, so it should have a good chance of turning a profit for Universal.
Last week's champ, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, fell to fourth in its fifth weekend, a byproduct of Star Wars opening and dominating business. The young adult adaptation brought in $5.6 million to raise its domestic total to $254.4 million.
Rounding out the top five is Creed. The boxing drama made $5 million over the weekend and is now up to $87.9 Stateside.
Pixar's The Good Dinosaur comes in at #6 with $4.2 million. The family flick has grossed $96.5 million domestically so far.
At #7 is Krampus, which made $3.7 million in its third weekend. The holiday horror film has now brought in $34.8 million in the U.S. during its run.
Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea plummeted to #8 in its second weekend, suffering a massive 68.7 percent decrease from its debut. The drama made $3.4 million over the weekend and is at a horrific $18.6 million domestically.
At #9 is Dilwale. Despite opening in 268 theaters, the film made $1.8 million. Not bad for something flying under the radar.
Likewise, the #10 film, Bajirao Mastani debuted at 304 locations and made $1.6 million in its opening weekend.
[NOTE: These are only weekend box office estimates -- based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales coupled with adjusted expectations for Sunday. Official weekend box office results will be released on Monday, December 21 -- at which time we'll update this post with any changes.]
Source: Box Office Mojo