I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out “WHAAAAT?!!” and were suddenly silenced. I fear something surprising has happened.
Leonardo DiCaprio already had a great weekend as he claimed the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Drama last night, but it seems that the universe decided to give him an even more serious notch on his belt as The Revenant did on Friday what no other movie has been able to do for 3 weeks and actually dethroned Star Wars: The Force Awakens from the top spot at the US box office. Reports show that Friday night box office tallies had The Revenant pulling in $14.4 million to The Force Awakens‘ $10.75 million. That set the stage for an epic weekend showdown between frontiersmen and Jedi. The two movies went back and forth on Saturday and Sunday, but when the dust settled and all the weekend’s totals were tallied, it was The Force Awakens which claimed the no.1 spot again. Barely.
Final figures shows The Revenant pulled in $38 million, just a few million shy of The Force Awakens‘ $41.6 million. Even in second place, it’s an incredible achievement showing DiCaprio’s star power is still just as potent as ever. Early studio estimates also had The Revenant pegged for a $20 million opening, but it clearly blew that figure away – something that will surely come as big relief with the film’s $135 million price tag (and that’s before advertising costs). And with all the awards season buzz and exposure behind it, you can expect this one to have some serious legs in the coming weeks.
The Revenant is directed by Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu – who added a Best Picture – Drama and Best Director Golden Globe to his trophy cabinet last night – and sees DiCaprio as an early 19th century trapper who gets left for dead by his men after a vicious bear attack, forcing him to make a grueling journey while being hunted by a Native American tribe for some good ol’ revenge. It also stars Tom Hardy as a nasty piece of work and one of Hollywood’s biggest breakout stars in Domhnall Gleeson. And it’s a freaking brutal/beautiful masterpiece. You can expect our full review later this week, but I can tell you this much now: It’s already my best movie of the year (as I predicted) and it’s going to take a hell of a lot to top it. In other words, this box office achievement could not have happened to a nicer movie.
Meanwhile, on the international scene, The Force Awakens finally debuted in China – the second biggest movie market in the world – and just like it’s done pretty much everywhere else it just shattered records. It opened on Saturday to an impressive $31.8 million, giving it the highest Saturday opening ever in China. While overall, it’s only the third best opening day ever in China behind the Chinese comedy Lost in Hong Kong and Fast and Furious 7, and is slightly short of Disney’s $33 million estimates, this still is a big deal for The Force Awakens‘ goal of eventually claiming Avatar‘s biggest global box office crown. Sitting at approximately $1.73 billion now, it’s definitely going to need China’s help if it wants to beat Avatar‘s $2.79 billion. Disney is facing a bit of an uphill battle though as China really has no nostalgic connection to Star Wars, as the franchise debuted in the late 1970’s when Western movies were still banned in the Asian country. And to be fair, Avatar had an abnormal 7-month theatrical run and a re-release to get to its whopping figure.
Meanwhile the Natalie Dormer led PG-13 horror The Forest somehow managed to dodge pretty crappy reviews and pull in a respectable $13 million debut – a figure that’s impressive not just for being in the usually smaller horror genre, but also for releasing in Star Wars’ shadow. Polls actually show that it wasn’t just Dormer’s Game of Thrones role that translated to this success, but rather that 79% of audiences polled were actually just ardent horror fans. I guess if you scare it, they will come.
While there were no other new releases for the weekend, the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy’s Home still continued to impress, only dropping one spot to third with a $29 million take in its third week. On the opposite end of the success spectrum though, Quentin Tarantino’s critically lauded western The Hateful Eight had a horrible showing. Despite the fact that it expanded into an additional 464 cinemas, it still saw a massive 59.6% drop off since last week. It’s $6.35 million take was only enough to garner sixth place, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it completely off the chart in two weeks or less, unless there’s a massive surge driven by some Oscar nominations.
Let’s check out the rest of the US chart.
- 1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $41.6 million (LW: 1st)
- 2. The Revenant – $38 million (NE)
- 3. Daddy’s Home – $29 million (LW: 2nd)
- 4. The Forest – $13 million (NE)
- 5. Sisters – $7.17 million LW: 4th)
- 6. The Hateful Eight – $6.35 million (LW: 3rd)
- 7. The Big Short – $6.3 million (LW: 7th)
- 8. Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip – $5.5 million (LW: 5th)
- 9. Joy – $4.5 million (LW: 3rd)
- 10. Concussion – $3.05 million (LW: 8th)
Bowing out of the US Top Ten this week is The Hunger Games: MockingJay – Part 2 which has already made a massive $277 million domestically after 8 weeks (to add to its $362 million international earnings). Also falling out is the Point Break reboot which has been a colossal failure in every sense of the word. Thanks to fancy globetrotting stunts, the reboot sports a hefty $105 million price tag (before advertising) and with it just earning $26 million domestically and $58 million internationally thus far, it may just have given us our first bomb of 2016.
In contrast, one other great fact about The Revenant‘s success is that it’s already almost eclipsed Birdman‘s entire $42 million domestic take, and sure as hell looks on track to top the $105.1 million mark, meaning it has outgrossed all of Iñárritu’s previous movies combined. Another great piece of potential trivia is that Domhnall Gleeson may just have starred in three of 2015’s Best Picture Oscar contenders if The Revenant, Ex Machina and Star Wars all get nods when the Oscar nominees get announced on Thursday.
Last Updated: January 11, 2016