The Force is still strong, but The Revenant is the first to challenge it.
After a $41.6 million weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens becomes the first film in history to cross the $800 million mark in North America, bringing its mounting record domestic haul to $812 million in just its 24th day of release – while still maintaining the #1 slot in the nation.
But The Revenant – the violent survival western starring Leonardo DiCaprio – nearly toppled Star Wars‘ reign with its much stronger than expected $38 million wide release open. With pre-weekend projections at around just $20 million, the likely Oscar contender nearly doubled what analysts were expecting from the lengthy, brutal revenge epic.
Internationally, The Force Awakens finally opened in China – the world’s biggest territory – where it broke records as well, raking in the nation’s best-ever $53 million over two days. That brings Episode VII‘s worldwide total to $1.73 billion, moving it past Jurassic World to become the 3rd Biggest Global Grosser of All Time.
The only two films now standing between The Force Awakens and the Worldwide Crown are James Cameron‘s biggest blockbusters, #2 Titanic ($2.2 billion) and #1 Avatar ($2.8 billion). Getting another $500 million to pass Titanic seems very likely at this point, but making another $1.2 billion to pass Avatar will be a considerable challenge. The strong start in China is a good sign for Disney’s biggest franchise. Nevertheless, $1.2 billion is still a lot to ask for. Maybe even for Star Wars.