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Weekend Estimates: Force Awakens with Projected All-Time Best $238 Million

December 20th, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Disney is projecting a $238 million opening weekend for Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens as of Sunday morning, a figure that will make it, by some margin, the highest-grossing film on opening weekend at the domestic box office. Jurassic World holds the current domestic record, at $208.8 million. Given the $30 million over-performance at home, it’s perhaps a slight surprise that Star Wars isn’t also projected to take the global weekend record, with its expected $517 million falling a little behind Jurassic World’s $524.9 million debut earlier in the year. That’s one of a handful of examples of Star Wars placing second all-time as of Sunday morning, but mostly it’s been a case of broken records all round, and there’s evidence that Disney is playing things safe in their projections, so pretty much no record can be considered out of reach at this point.

The weekend started with a record $57 million in previews on Thursday, and a record “opening day” of $120.5 million, with those previews included. As I discussed yesterday, its 24-hour Friday total was actually a little behind Jurassic World’s, at $63.5 million, compared to $64.3 million. I’ve seen Saturday estimates for Star Wars of $68.5 million, $68.7 million, and $69.2 million, all of which are behind Jurassic World’s $69.6 million Saturday (which is the biggest 24-hour day of all time). So the difference between the two films so far is basically down to the Thursday previews.

Jurassic World made $57.2 million on Sunday, and Disney’s projection assumes Star Wars will do quite a bit less than that: more like $48 million. If the film manages something closer to $55 million today, then its weekend will end up around $245 million. My sense is that it’s headed north of $240 million at this point, with Disney playing things a little safe in their projection. That’s at the very high end of yesterday’s projection.

A $245 million domestic weekend would also put the global opening weekend record very much in play. Adding $7 million to Disney’s current number would take the film to $524 million for the weekend, just $900,000 behind Jurassic World, or 0.2%. With things that close, the record will be determined as much by which exchange rate you use to convert to dollars as by how the film is doing in each territory.

But that’s all to be determined over the next week or so. For now, Disney can put that $238 million in the bank, and the world can celebrate what is actually a pretty good Star Wars movie.

The rest of this week’s chart looks quite respectable. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip will be (a very distant) second with $14.4 million, just ahead of Sisters’ $13.4 million debut. Both films are well set for the holidays, and their relatively solid performances will help this weekend be the first in history to top $300 million in overall ticket sales.

For the first time, two Bollywood films will be in the top 10: Dilwale will pick up $1.875 million from 268 theaters for UTV, and Bajirao Mastani is projected to earn $1.66 million from 304 locations for Eros.

In limited release, The Big Short will bring in $350,000 or so from eight theaters, topping $1 million without even having to expand out of those venues. It’ll be one to watch over the next few weeks, and is probably the best bet for an Oscar-hopeful box office breakout this season.

- Weekend Estimates
- Box office records
- Biggest weekends
- Biggest days
- Record Fridays
- Record Saturdays
- Record Sundays
- Biggest combined gross for all movies

Related articles:
- International Box Office: Force Awakens has Fabulous Friday, but Falls Behing Jurassic World
- International Box Office: Star Wars Adds Germany to its Record Collection
- Analysis: Preview and Friday Numbers Point to $225 Million Weekend
- Star Wars is an Unstoppable Force
- Thursday Night Previews: Star Wars is Deadly to the Competition
- Star Wars Forces Its Way to the Top in United Kingdom
- Star Wars Starts Busting Records Around the World
- Weekend Predictions: How Big of a Force Will Star Wars be at the Box Office?
- Critics go Mad for The Force Awakens
- Star Wars’ Path to Avatar’s Three Titanic Records
- Eight Records Star Wars Needs to Break
- Six Records Star Wars is Certain to Break

Related pages:
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars franchise history
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens Recent Comparisons
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens All-Time Comparisons
- Theatrical Records

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Sisters, The Big Short, Bajirao Mastani, Dilwale, Star Wars