Monday, December 28, 2015

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is the Quickest Film to a Billion Dollars at the Box Office

Scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens
There is an old expression for very popular movies: Everyone and their mother has seen it. In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that may very well apply. Even if there are those out there who haven't seen it, the box office receipts point to an overwhelming sign of popularity. While many have long pitted the latest entry to be a success, it wasn't likely to be quite like this. Over the course of its first two weeks (12 days to be precise), the film has become the fastest film to cross a billion (yes, with a b) dollars worldwide. In America, its intake is only second to Jurassic World's cumulative gross. At this rate, it may very well be the highest grossing film from 2015 before it reaches the New Year. 

It looks like everything paid off for Star Wars. The years of anticipation built up to a very successful opening weekend. It wasn't just a "good for a blockbuster" opening weekend, it was an overwhelmingly high opening the likes of which haven't been seen in awhile. It wasn't just that it did great business over the weekend, either. It was reported to break all sorts of box office records, including opening day, Christmas weekend, and second weekend gross. If nothing else, the film looks to be challenging Avatar very soon for biggest movie of all time. Considering that James Cameron's 2009 marvel was the fastest to gross two million, one can only imagine what Star Wars will do, having achieved half of that goal faster than he did.

In the United States, Star Wars has grossed $540 million, which is just $112 million short of Jurassic World's total (mind you: in it's entire run), which is currently the highest grossing movie of the year. However, there's one more film that it needs to beat in order to gain dominance in America box office: Avatar. Long considered indomitable, Avatar is about to enter tough competition with Star Wars, as both are planning major 2017 releases. For this year, take Star Wars' success as an omen for what's to come. Provided that the film just doesn't magically disappear, Star Wars will likely cross Avatar as the highest grossing film in America. Mind you, Avatar has $760 million, which is only $220 million off of what Star Wars has now. 

It will be interesting to see how the record books will look when all is said and done. While it is likely that The Force Awakens will be one of those legendary box office successes, one can only imagine what would have to happen to beat it. It is doubtful that even George Lucas' original Star Wars will stand a chance. What will be interesting to see is if the other films can even live up to the hype, now that there's an annual release plan. Maybe the esteem will taper off, leaving box office stats at a successful yet timid result. There's few films with this amount of hype likely to come in history. Even then, it will be fun to write an entire chart of every record and see where things stand. Either way, Avatar's six year reign as champion is likely to be toast sooner than later.

The only real question left is if Star Wars: The Force Awakens can stand a chance at pleasing The Academy. While it's already caused controversy regarding its last minute addition to an awards nominee line-up, it still has time to qualify for Oscars. The question now is if its success will mirror with Oscar nominations. After all, it worked for Titanic and Avatar before them. While it may not be the most prestigious movie of its kind, it definitely deserves some credit as zeitgeist entertainment, alongside Mad Max: Fury Road. The only question though is if this will actually happen after many years of not. I remain skeptical, but these box office stats at least show an overwhelming backlash if it doesn't. 

Now, it's Star Wars' turn. Let's see if you can beat Avatar's box office by Thursday. Go on, I dare you.

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