Note: While we originally planned for a regular Box Office Prediction post this week, we instead are doing an analysis of Star Wars: The Force Awakens' chances of setting a new second weekend record
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is finally here, and as expected, it is shattering box office records across the board. The film grossed an unprecedented $247.9 million in its first three days (no December release had even reached $100 million in its debut before), and as of this writing it is already up to $325.4 million domestically. Due to the return of something as massive like Star Wars, everyone knew it would be a huge commercial hit, but the overwhelming positive word-of-mouth (and minor awards buzz) has taken it to another level.
Last week in the Box Office Prediction, we looked at Star Wars 7's chances of besting Jurassic World's opening weekend record, and now Rey, BB-8, and company are looking to take down another mark set by Chris Pratt and his raptor buddies. In June 2015, the fourth Jurassic Park film set a new highest second weekend record by posting $106.5 million. As Star Wars rewrites history, can it top that figure heading into Christmas weekend?
Based on simple math, the answer is a resounding yes. Jurassic World saw a 49 percent decrease after its debut. It's expected that Star Wars will see a similar noticeable decrease in business during its second weekend (as is the case with most tentpoles); the hype and anticipation for the film made it front-loaded, but it would have to take quite a tumble to fall short of Jurassic World's record. Even if Force Awakens had a 50 percent dropoff, it would still bring in $123.9 million.
Arguably, Star Wars could display considerably stronger legs than Jurassic World when it's all said and done. Whereas the latter had to contend with Pixar's massive hit Inside Out in its second weekend, the "competition" for Force Awakens is far less substantial. There are a number of films opening on December 25 - Concussion, Joy, Daddy's Home, and Point Break - but none of them are expected to bring in large crowds. Out of that quartet, Daddy's Home has the highest opening weekend projection with $18 million, but the early reviews have been largely negative, limiting its appeal. That's not to say there won't be an audience for any of these movies, but they're all tough sells when compared to Star Wars.
It's true that in Jurassic World's second weekend, Inside Out was the only high-profile new release (the indie Dope was also opening). As stated above, Star Wars faces off against four fresh nationwide debuts. The catch there is that Inside Out made $90.4 million in its first three days, while the foursome staring down Star Wars is estimated to bring in $57 million collectively during the holiday frame. Even with big names like Will Smith, Jennifer Lawrence, Mark Wahlberg, and Will Ferrell headlining the films, they're clearly no match for the galaxy far, far away. The Force Awakens has consumed the zeitgeist in a way only it can.
So at the end of the day, there is a very strong chance Star Wars 7 can set a new second weekend record. While the minuscule 1.8 percent decrease the all-time king Avatar saw in its second weekend is out of the question, Force Awakens will have to see an unprecedented drop in order to not hit $106 million over Christmas. If it was going against a tougher slate of films, this would be more of a question. As was the case last week when Episode VII hit theaters, the only drama surrounding it is how much it will make en route to smashing another record.
We'll be back next week with another Box Office Prediction!
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han SoloStar Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Box Office