‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Faces Jurassic Record
After a decade-long absence, Star Wars is back on the big screen. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh installment of the nearly 40-year-old franchise. Set roughly 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi (which wrapped up the saga all hunky dory), a new force in the galaxy has arisen. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) hasn’t been seen. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca have been wandering the galaxy and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) has turned into a battle-hardened general, waging war against this new First Order.
For the first time since 1983, the original three are back as is a return to practical effects and on-location shooting. That something many fans believed the prequel trilogy missed the ball on. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver join the cast as the younger generation of heroes and the latter as its mysterious masked villain, Kylo Ren.
Anticipation for The Force Awakens is at an all-time high. The film has already sold over $100 million in pre-sale tickets. Reviews have been much more positive than the last three films as well. We Live Film’s Big Gabe states that The Force Awakens will “restore your love for the series” after the prequels. Scott Menzel found plenty to enjoy about The Force Awakens, while acknowledging a few issues in rehashing and characterizations.
The Force Awakens is gunning for every record possible. First is the $91 million opening day record set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011. Being the first Star Wars film released on a Friday rather than mid-week, The Force Awakens will have no problems coming close to that mark. A $100 million opening day possibility has been floating around recently. The opening weekend record is also in jeopardy this weekend. Set by Jurassic World a few months ago, it’s highly possible for The Force Awakens to break the $208 million haul by Sunday. Based on early reports from Box Office Mojo, the film was originally projected to open in 3,900 theaters which cast some doubt if the record would be broken. Reports now indicate that The Force Awakens will debut in 4,134 theaters.
With 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D engagements starting early Thursday night, theaters will be jammed packed for what is considered the most anticipated film in years. An opening weekend of about $215 million is possible.
Two other films were brave enough to open against the space opera behemoth. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Sisters are also due out this weekend. The Road Chip is the fourth chapter of the Chipmunks franchise. Dave (Jason Lee) is prepared to propose to his new girlfriend, who rubs the Chipmunks the wrong way. The trio have 72 hours to go on a road trip and stop it from happening.
Once a surprisingly lucrative franchise, Alvin and the Chipmunks; Chip-wrecked only pulled in $133 million domestically. The first two installments cleared $200 million without problem. With negative reviews and Star Wars fever running amok, The Road Chip could send the Chipmunks to lowest debut yet with about $12 million.
In Sisters, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler star as two grown-up siblings, who throw a final party at their childhood home. While Fey and Poehler were successful comedians on Saturday Night Live, big-screen success has been hit or miss. Their film Baby Mama opened to a moderate $17 million in 2008. Though the two have found more successful as voice talents – Fey in 2010’s Megamind and Poehler in this year’s Inside Out. Sisters might pull in $10 million by Sunday.
Box Office Projections
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Buena Vista) – $215.1 million (NR)
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (Fox) – $11.5 million (NR)
3. Sisters (Universal) – $10.5 million (NR)
4. The Good Dinosaur (Buena Vista) – $6.9 millon (3)
5. Creed (Warner Bros.) – $6.5 million (4)