Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Same Wars, different year

Illustration for article titled Weekend Box Office: Same Wars, different year

Thanks to the holidays, it’s been a couple weeks since us lazybones at The A.V. Club reported on box-office numbers, so let’s just get everyone up to speed: Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars. Yes, other movies opened over Christmas, in wide and limited release. But none could hold a seasonally appropriate candle to the unstoppable juggernaut of Disney’s newly acquired mega-franchise. The Force Awakens has broken so many records that even Box Office Mojo, the one shop stop for movie money info, has to admit that it can’t keep track of all of them. (It’s supposedly broken 40 of them and “those are just the records Box Office Mojo officially tracks at this time.”)


Just how big of a hit is The Force Awakens? This weekend, it zipped past $700 million in domestic dollars, putting it just $20 million shy of the biggest hit of all time, Avatar. (It crossed that milestone in a Millennium-Falcon-fast 17 days, whereas James Cameron’s army of blue metaphors needed 72 to get there.) Globally speaking, though, Avatar still has a healthy lead on Star Wars, which is in sixth place with about $1.5 billion, or about a billion and some change shy of the worldwide title. But analysts are predicting that The Force Awakens will be No. 4 by, oh, maybe tomorrow. And it’s only been out for three measly weeks. There’s plenty more time, especially in the dumping grounds of January, for Rey and company to catch up to Neytiri and the gang.

Speaking of Avatar and January, this was the biggest box-office weekend for the month since that time audiences spent the first few days of the new year watching Sam Worthington tail fuck a tree person. Most of the money comes—you guessed it—from The Force Awakens. But a few other movies managed to do solid business in the shadow of the empire, with comedies providing especially profitable counterprogramming: While Tina Fey and Amy Poehler continued to tag team everyone shut out of Star Wars—their Sisters has made $61 million in three weeks, which is pretty good for a movie that looks like it cost about much as a big house party—Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg held down the No. 2 spot for a second weekend in a row, as Daddy’s Home rose to a very strong $93.6 million.

For those looking for some true counterprogramming—i.e. a movie you wouldn’t necessarily see with the family even if Star Wars was sold out—there was Quentin Tarantino’s butt-numbing genre hybrid The Hateful Eight, which expanded into wide release this weekend following a run of 70mm roadshow dates. The film landed in third place with $16.2 million—less than what some were predicting, but more than a three-hour bloodbath designed to make audiences squirm could probably hope to shake from multiplex patrons. Will moviegoers give it a chance over these next few frigid weeks, or will they put on their snow boots and trudge to a nearly-as-long winter Western, The Revenant, which expands on Friday? Who are we kidding? The Force Awakens has scenes in the snow, too.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.