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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Star Wars’ Narrowly Edges Out ‘The Revenant’

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Eventually, another movie will top Star Wars: The Force Awakens and end the incredible run that has transformed it into the highest grossing movie in the history of the American box office. That movie was almost The Revenant. This is no failure, though. The combined powers of Leonardo DiCaprio, stories of a harrowing shoot, and a strong marketing campaign actually gave this movie a fighting chance against a genuine cultural sensation. It may have only hit number two on the top 10, but this is a huge victory for a difficult movie.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $41,630,000 (-53.9%) $10,070 $812,011,043
2 The Revenant $38,000,000 (+8,385.4) $11,259 $39,556,901
3 Daddy’s Home $15,000,000 (-48.6) $4,307 $116,313,576
4 The Forest $13,088,000 $5,340 $13,088,000
5 Sisters $7,170,000 (-43.8%)
$2,503 $74,879,330
6 The Hateful Eight $6,351,000 (-59.6) $2,162 $41,473,000
7 The Big Short $6,300,000 (-30.5%) $2,491 $42,849,837
8 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $5,500,000 (-54.4) $1,851 $75,608,339
9 Joy $4,500,000 (-55.9%) $1,791 $46,555,608
10 Concussion $3,050,000 (-61.1%) $1,483 $30,968,278

 

The Revenant exploded out of limited release, grossing $38 million and proving that movies about wilderness survival can attract audiences as long as you have a star as dependable as DiCaprio on the poster. And now that it’s handily outgrossed films like Spotlight and Brooklyn in its first weekend of wide release, expect to see its Oscar chances rise a bit (because that does matter). But here’s the rub: this film was expensive and it was a headache for 20th Century Fox, who watched it go wildly over budget during its lengthy shoot. This was one strong opening weekend, but it’s going to need the endurance of its main character to turn a profit. The second weekend is going to be key here. Will audiences actually respond to and embrace a movie as grisly and, for lack of a better phrase, artsy-fartsy as this? The real story here is next weekend.

Anyway, the champion this weekend was, once again, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made $41 million for a grand total so far of $812 million. Avatar’s previous North American record of $760 million is dust. However, it still has one billion dollars (literally) to go if it wants to top James Cameron’s international record. If it keeps on playing like this in the weeks ahead, it could stand a chance.

Two other films continued to play well under the radar. In third place, Daddy’s Home grossed $15 million for a $116 million total, putting it on track to becoming one of Will Ferrell’s highest grossing movies in years. In fifth place, Sisters continued to showcase some serious bear-fighting, bison liver-eating endurance, grossing $7 million for a $74 million total. It stands a serious chance at $100 million, which no one saw coming after its mediocre opening a few weeks ago.

For a more mixed story, you need to look to spot number four and The Forest, a January dump that opened to $13 million. That’s not great, but that’s also the best possible number a poorly received, poorly marketed horror movie could have achieved against this competition. Well done?

The back half of the top 10 is a thoroughly mixed bag. The Hateful Eight plummeted as audiences realized it isn’t a Django Unchained-style crowd-pleaser and with only $41 million accumulated so far, it’s going to be Quentin Tarantino’s lowest grossing movie in years. Meanwhile, the movie about the breakdown of the American economy, The Big Short, surpassed the bloody western, making $6 million for $42 million total. At the bottom, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Joy, and Concussion all shrugged and prepared to end their runs with less money than anyone wanted.

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