Well, surprise, surprise. It turns out Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens has just captured another box office record.
Let’s be honest, at this point, none of this is particularly shocking, and anyone even remotely familiar with Disney’s marketing plan for The Force Awakens will know that major box office success was basically guaranteed.
Over the last weekend, Star Wars: Episode VII increased its ticket sale haul to $1,090,573,329, making it the 24th movie to gain access to the hallowed, and no doubt gold plated, clubhouse of the Billion Dollar Box Office Club. Furthermore, it achieved this aim in only 12 days, beating the previous record of 13 days held by that other 2015 blockbuster reboot/sequel thing, Jurassic World.
Currently, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is sitting at position 15 in the international all-time box office charts, meaning it still has some way to go before it can assault the long held Avatar top spot. To achieve this it will have to make $2.788 billion, a daunting figure for even Star Wars.
Although current projections place it on course to achieve this, it’s not impossible that Avatar might still survive at the end of Star Wars’s box office run. In reality, the box office race is a marathon, not a sprint, and although Star Wars is currently the Usain Bolt of ticket sales, it still remains to be seen if it has the steam to beat Avatar. When James Cameron’s CGI-fantasy-sci-fi first released in 2009, it didn’t exactly storm to the top position immediately, instead it stayed in the top 10 for three months and experienced consistently good box office results due to strong word of mouth.
It’s worth remembering that both The Avengers and Jurassic World were once ‘on course’ to overtake Avatar.
Furthermore, Avatar was a smash hit overseas with the vast majority of its sales (72.7%) coming from outside North America. Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens has done well everywhere, its box office haul is currently 50-50 domestic and foreign. Now, this can mean one of two things: either more Americans are watching Star Wars than saw Avatar (by a large degree) or Star Wars (which has always enjoyed much more popularity in the US than elsewhere) has relatively marginal sway in key overseas markets.
A key moment in the box office race will be January 9th, when Star Wars: Episode VII opens in China. Avatar‘s most successful foreign market was China (as is fast becoming the case for many American blockbusters) and how the movie fairs in this burgeoning cinematic economy will likely seal its fate and decide where its box office adventure ultimately comes to an end.