Star Wars: The Force Awakens Has A Real Chance To Surpass Avatar As The Top-Grossing Movie Of All Time


I chose that picture of a smirking Han Solo with Chewbacca intentionally, because it mirrors my feelings about the chances of Star Wars: The Force Awakens surpassing Avatar as the top-grossing movie of all time. And those chances are looking better with each passing day.

With reports coming in that The Force Awakens has broken the all-time Tuesday record formerly held by The Amazing Spider-Man and become the fastest movie ever to make $300 million domestically, it now has its sights set squarely on Avatar, the film that holds both the U.S. and global box office records. They’re daunting ones too: Avatar‘s domestic haul of $760.5 million is more than $100 million more than the No. 2 film, Titanic, and its worldwide total of nearly $2.8 billion is nearly as much as both Avengers movies made combined.

Yet both are realistically in play for The Force Awakens, especially since it seems to be playing well to all audiences. Female moviegoers, teens and young adults all love it (with A+ CinemaScore grades for all three groups), and of course, it’s inspiring Star Wars fans to return to theaters for repeated viewings.

Since Avatar played so differently when it opened in 2009 compared to current blockbusters, a day by day comparison of their box office totals is almost meaningless. It took James Cameron’s 3D spectacle 16 days to pass the $300 million mark, something The Force Awakens has almost certainly accomplished in just five days. But Avatar was a juggernaut on Saturdays all the way into February of 2010, racking up $10 million-plus for weeks. It was still doing more than $1 million a day on February 27, when it first reached the previously unthinkable $700 million region.

It seems silly to suggest that The Force Awakens won’t have staying power, but it realistically isn’t going to have quite those kinds of legs. Instead, it’s going to have to open up a titanic (pun intended) lead and hope it can hang on to a trajectory that would allow it to shoot by Avatar, likely in early February. The Christmas weekend will be critical. If The Force Awakens can be somewhere in the $550 million range by the end of its second weekend, it’s going to get really interesting through January.

Next: All the Box Office Records Broken by The Force Awakens

We’ll be tracking its box office journey with great interest here, of course. But at least in the early going, the Force has certainly been with J.J. Abrams’ contribution to the Star Wars saga, in a way that just might make history.