J.J. Abrams' record-shattering Star Wars: The Force Awakens came in slightly behind Sunday estimates, earning $149.2 million over Christmas weekend in North America, versus $153.5 million, for a mammoth domestic total of $540.3 million and worldwide haul north of $1 billion.
That represents the largest second weekend in history and is by far the top holiday gross of all time. The previous Christmas weekend champ was Sherlock Holmes in 2009 with a $62.3 million opening.
Force Awakens has smashed one record after another since its debut. Add to that list becoming the fastest film in history to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office, a feat it accomplished on Sunday, its 12th day in release. That compares to 13 days for Jurassic World, which boasted a day-and-date opening in China. (Star Wars doesn't open in China until Jan. 9).
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At this rate, there's no saying how high the Star Wars reboot will ultimately fly. Domestically, it's now assured of eclipsing 2009's Avatar ($760.5 million) to become the top-grossing title of all time, a record it could claim by the end of New Year's Eve weekend, not accounting for inflation. Some believe it could ultimately earn north of $1 billion in North America.
Overseas, Force Awakens has grossed $550.3 million for a global cume of $1.09 billion through Sunday.
Between Force Awakens and a flurry of new movies, revenue over Christmas weekend clocked in at a record $295 million, well ahead of the $269 million grossed in 2009. Five movies opened nationwide over the holiday -; Daddy's Home, Joy, Concussion, The Big Short and Point Break -; while Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight and Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant launched in select locations.
Daddy's Home, starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, fared the best. The film looks to all but match its Sunday estimate of $38.8 million, ahead of expectations. Daddy's Home, from Paramount and Red Granite, cost $50 million and was produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions.
David O. Russell's Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, bowed at No. 3 in North America with a solid $17 million from 2,896 theaters (Sunday's estimate was $17 million). The $60 million Fox dramedy, loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, creator of the Miracle Mop, marks Russell's second-best opening after 2013's American Hustle ($19.1 million).
Sony and Village Roadshow's Concussion, starring Will Smith, opened in sixth place behind Sisters and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip with an estimated $10.5 million from 2,841 theaters, compared to Sunday's $11 million estimate. Either way, that's the lowest wide opening of Smith's career.
Concussion all but tied with The Big Short, directed by McKay and starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Melissa Leo. The financial dramedy, playing in only 1,585 locations, exceeded expectations in grossing an estimated $10.45 million for the weekend and $14.5 million for the five days (it rolled out nationwide on Wednesday after a limited run). To date, Big Short has earned $16 million.
Paramount teamed with New Regency and Pitt's Plan B Entertainment in making the $28 million movie, which will expand into more than 2,500 theaters on Jan. 8.
Alcon Entertainment's extreme-sports extravaganza Point Break is a major disappointment, considering its $100 million budget. A loose remake of the classic 1991 film, the movie debuted to $9.8 million from 2,910 theaters. On Sunday, Warner Bros., which is releasing the movie on behalf of Alcon, put the movie's opening at $10.2 million.
Point Break has already opened in China, where it has grossed $40 million to date, and several other smaller Asian markets for a foreign cume so far north of $43 million. Alcon has suffered a string of box-office disappointments, including last year's big-budget flop Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp.
The week between Christmas and New Year's weekend is the most lucrative corridor of the year in terms of moviegoing, and the new films are hoping for strong multiples even with Force Awakens dominating much of the marketplace.
At the specialty box office, Hateful Eight came in slightly ahead of Sunday estimates, earning $4.6 million from its exclusive 70mm roadshow in 100 theaters for a hearty location average of $46,069. The movie's performance so far is a needed win for The Weinstein Co., which spent millions to fulfill its promise to Tarantino to make the revenge Western available in film before opening Hateful Eight everywhere on Dec. 31.
Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, also soared in its debut, grossing $474,562 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $118,649, the second-best showing of the year to date. Fox and New Regency are partners on the movie, which expands nationwide Jan. 8.