As expected, Star Wars: The Force Awakens set a number of box office records last weekend. The film took home titles for largest Domestic Opening Day, Opening Weekend, Thursday Preview, Single Day, Holiday Weekend, fastest to $100M, Domestic IMAX and Worldwide IMAX. The previous Domestic Record was held by Jurassic World when it achieved $100M in 2 days. The exact numbers, as well as the defeated foes, are listed below.

T-1: Box Office Records
Domestic Total $238.0 M Avatar (2009) $760.5 M $841.3 M
Worldwide Total $529.0 M Avatar (2009) $2,788.0 M $3,084.0 M
Domestic Op. Wknd $238.0 M Jurassic World (2015) $208.8 M $208.8 M
Worldwide Op. Wknd $517.0 M Jurassic World (2015) $524.9 M $524.9 M
Thursday Preview $  57.0 M Harry Potter:DH2 (2011) $43.5 M $45.9 M
Opening Day, Single Day, Friday $120.5 M Harry Potter:DH2 (2011) $91.07 M $96.1 M
Holiday Opening Wknd $238.0 M Hunger Games: CF (2013) $158.0 M $160.9 M
Domestic IMAX Op. $  30.1 M Jurassic World (2015) $20.9 M $20.9 M
Worldwide IMAX Op. $  48.0 M Jurassic World (2015) $44.1 M $44.1 M

Source: BoxOfficemojo.com

SW set records in the global market as well, topping Opening Weekend records in 18 nations (UK, Australia, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Iceland, Serbia & New Zealand). It also has the 2nd biggest Opening Weekend in 4 others (France, Belgium, Israel & Chile).

While Star Wars initially seemed to fail in its quest for Worldwide Opening Weekend record (by $8 M) the film has not yet opened in China, which accounted for $99M of Jurassic World’s $524.9M. There is little doubt that the Star Wars franchise doesn’t have the same cache in China as it does the rest of the world (only $23.9M grossed for the 3 prequels) we’re confident that Disney’s marketing push in the area will be enough to garner the initial $8M that was needed when it opens in China on January 8th. (Updated Worldwide Box Office #s however, actually showed $529 M, meaning the China’s revenues are NOT needed for the new Worldwide Box Office record. China’s Box Office however, which is by far the most important Foreign Box is mandated for any movie to really claim Worldwide success.) To help push SW into the mainstream, Disney’s marketing campaign included placing 500 full sized storm-troopers along the Great Wall; a deal with Tencent to make all previous 6 SW films available on the company’s streaming service; a marketing deal with Mtime, which runs a popular movie website and mobile ticketing service; and the hiring of Lu Han, a Chinese pop star to serve as “official ambassador” for the new film. The Force Awakens’ stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and director JJ Abrams will attend the Chinese premier to help grow Box Office $$. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed several president/CEO’s of Chinese theater chains and their averages predicted a $277.5M Opening Box Office in China.

Of course, ONLY time will tell if SW removes Avatar as the #1 all-time Domestic ($760.5M) and Worldwide ($2,788M) box office king. Based on previous averages and predictions, BoxOfficeMojo has estimated that a 3-3.5 domestic multiplier should be applied to an Opening Wknd Blockbuster to give it a reasonable prediction for its lifetime box office. That would mean a $714 M – $833 M Domestic run, putting it in the game to surpass Avatar’s $760.5M showing. While there is NO PROVEN multiplier for Worldwide Box $$, we shall use the 3–3.5 multiplier just to see what an estimated Worldwide Box office would look like, if that multiple was used. Well, $529 M + $277.5 M = $806.5 M X 3 = $2,419.5 M AND $806.5 M X 3.5 = $2,822.75 M. The Force Awakens therefore, has a possible Worldwide Box Office from $2,419.5 M to $2,822.75 M, given the 3-3.5 multiple.

For those who are interested with Xmas coming this week, SW won’t likely see a large drop off its box office and should be able to avoid the Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows 2 curse of having a huge opening weekend ($169M) followed by a huge drop the next weekend (72% drop). The nostalgia factor will surely be in play as parents will gladly take their children to see SW over The Good Dinosaur or Alvin & The Chipmunks this holiday weekend.


Since we are biz buckos we must match these box office records with appropriate $$. In other words all the previous box office records must be properly inflated to 2015 $$ to see if The Force Awakens still obliterates all. The ONLY unknowns are when The Force Awakens runs its course will it establish the Domestic and/or Worldwide Box records?

  • For Domestic Box, Mojo advocates a 35 multiplier of the opening weekend $$ for final Domestic Box Office estimates. That means that we can expect from $714$833M. The 2015 $$ record will be broken when the Box office hits $841.3M, Avatar’s inflated Domestic Box (inflated to 2015 $$). The Force Awakens will easily break Avatar’s uninflated Domestic Box Office record


  • No matter how we add it, multiply it, etc, etc, etc, The Force Awakens will NOT globally ring $3 B± at the cash register. Even our calculations above, which stretch the boundaries of estimation clearly give little real hope of $3 B±. NEXT QUESTION, PLEASE?

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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