UPDATE:12/21/15 11.15pm. SWTFA has broken the opening weekend record with a total of 241m-246m, Disney is calling the weekend with 238m, but Boxofficemojo.com is calling it on 247m. This soundly beats all contenders and is now the raining box office king. The big question is now how the film will do Christmas weekend, with 100% of kids being out of school the possibility of a massive second weekend is very possible. This second weekend will help determine if the film has what is needed to beat Avatar or not, as the SWTFA will need long legs to beat the domestic record. I will keep updating this article as the weekend goes along.
With less than a few days till Star Wars: The Force Awakens roars into theaters, one of the only questions remaining is: how high will it fly? Will it overtake Jurassic World to take largest opening weekend ever? Will it gross more than Avatar? These are all good questions. Right now SWTFA is slated for an opening of around $185m - $215m, and this was before the spectacular reviews and 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes; at this point the sky is the limit for the film. That being said, the real race is not for opening weekend but for overall gross. Avatar only grossed $70m its opening weekend, but had amazing legs. The real question is: can SWTFA hold up in the coming weeks and months?
Let’s break it down. Since box office data/attendance has changed so much over the years, I will be using Revenge of the Sith as an example.
Revenge of the Sith opened after two underwhelming sequels to $108m for the weekend and an overall gross of $380m. Not bad, considering how much the two previous films were disliked. Now the key to understanding is to look at the weekend drops.
Looking at the data, Revenge of the Sith never dropped more than 54 percent in one weekend. Compare that to the chart for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace drops:
I will predict that SWTFA will play very similar to SWTPM, seeing as the new film is playing as more to a sequel to the original trilogy then the prequel trilogy, much as SWTPM was.
Now let's predict the domestic box office for The Force Awakens. I will be using the weekend drops that are similar to Revenge of the Sith and will also be going with a lower box office opening just to be on the safe side.
Using the same numbers as Revenge of the Sith, we come to approximately $450m in domestic weekend totals. Now let's try and add in what the total will be with the daily weekday box office, again using Revenge of the Sith-style numbers.
Using rough guesses we come to around $230 - $60m in day to day gross, this brings us to $680 - $710m in total box office gross. Now, I want to stress this is using similar data and drops to Revenge of the Sith. SWTFA has much better reviews and fan reaction then that film.
Right now, using similar numbers to ROTS, we come at just below or a little over $700m domestic. There is a massive possibility that this film will take off like a rocket and shoot past Avatar's record as highest grossing film ever. Right now, according to my numbers, SWTFA would only need to earn $50 - $60m more then my calculations in order to beat Avatar, and it could do that alone on opening weekend.