Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is currently dominating the box office, with a total of over $800 million worldwide and $1 billion well in its sights. When all is said and done, it could wind up being the highest grossing film of 2016 domestically and, quite possibly, worldwide. However, it's not the only Star Wars movie making headlines for a major box office haul.
This time last year everyone was still riding the high of The Force Awakens; not only was the massively anticipated sequel a genuinely good film worthy of the franchise, but it was tearing it up at the box office. By the end of its theatrical run it had made over $2 billion worldwide, beating out fellow 2015 barnstormers Furious 7 and Jurassic World to be the biggest film released that year, and become the highest grossing movie domestically by a $175 million margin. However, despite it now being two calendar years on from its release, one of its achievements has only just been confirmed: It's also one of the 10 highest grossing movies of 2016.
According to some number crunching by The Wrap, the film made $284.7 million (approximately 30 percent of its total) in 2016. This percent of its total gross is more than Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and Moana earned in 2016 (the latter could still make up some money, but that would now be in 2017, so wouldn't hurt this stat). Additionally, The Force Awakens' earnings are less than $50 million behind both of the DCEU's 2016 efforts - Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with $325 million and $330 million respectively. That stat and the financial calibre of the movies it beat out just go to show how big a success Episode VII was.
It's excellent news for Disney, who also had Finding Dory, Rogue One, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book and Zootopia place in the domestic top ten in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th respectively (they all also rank worldwide). At a time when some tentpole releases are flopping hard, the Mouse House seems to have found a real key for success - although arguably Star Wars 7 would always have been big, regardless of who made it or even if it was any good.
The ranking also highlights a common weakness of box office statistics. Traditionally sites tend to sort movies based on their release year, regardless of how staggered their cinema run actually was. This means that certain films can often have their level of success altered when they played in multiple years, a divide that is especially true of movies released around Christmas and New Year. The Revenant had a limited release in 2015 (so was classed as being from that year), but only went wide in 2016, meaning that most of its $532 million worldwide total actually came in 2016 (in fact, its $183 million domestic take would put it as 2016's 13th highest grossing film, beating out the likes of Star Trek, X-Men and Kung Fu Panda). Of course, that's nothing on The Force Awakens, which is particularly impressive for having still made most of its $936.7 million total in 2015 (its opening weekend was a record-breaker by itself).
However, Star Wars isn't the movie with the biggest box office haul in the year after release - not by a long shot. That award would go to Titanic, which made an eye-watering $477 million in 1998 following its 1997 release, which makes up 80 percent of its total domestic take. Avatar unsurprisingly comes in second place, making $466 million of its domestic haul in 2010, 62 percent of its total. Of course, both of those movies came with massive awards hype surrounding them, meaning they appealed to a wide range of audiences, and Titanic was in an era when films would stick around in cinemas for longer (it was still making over $1 million a week ten months on from release), so don't let that take away from The Force Awakens' incredible achievement.
Source: The Wrap
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019