Box Office: 'Star Wars' Tops $1B As New Releases Start Strong

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens- $153.5M/$544.5M
The amazing thing about Star Wars: the Force Awakens' $153M second weekend is that it faced such stiff competition. A slew of varied films from A-list stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Will Ferrell, Will Smith, and Leonardo DiCaprio couldn't put a dent in the powerhouse, which dropped only 38% and amassed $544M domestically, the fastest to that number ever. Worldwide it's doing even better with $1.09B, ranking fifth all-time. Uhhh...it's only been out for 12 days, ya'll.
2. Daddy's Home (review here)- $38.8M
While we can all count on Will Ferrell as one of today's most consistent comedy stars, his opening weekends don't tend to be all that huge. Case in point, Daddy's Home, which sees him paired with another reliable box office star in Mark Wahlberg, opened at $38.8M, the 3rd-highest of his career. It's a solid score for both stars, especially Wahlberg who could use a bounce-back after Ted 2 underwhelmed earlier this year.
3. Joy (review here)- $17.5M
Despite the many hit films and awards already under her belt, Joy makes the strongest case for Jennifer Lawrence as a box office draw. The film, largely built and promoted around her, got off to a very good start with $17.5M. The biopic on entrepreneur and inventor Joy Mangano was directed by David O. Russell and reteams Lawrence with Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, the foursome having worked together on awards fodder American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook. Certainly, the Oscar potential in Joy helped out considerably and will likely carry it along for a few weeks, but this is a win for Lawrence, for sure.
4. Sisters- $13.8M/$37.1M
Barely moving an inch from last week when it dared to open opposite Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy, Sisters. The fairly mediocre film didn't even drop a full percentage point this week, meaning that its attempt at counter-programming was a definite success. Women can't live on lightsabers and Wookies alone, fellas.
5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip- $12.7M/$39.3M
6. Concussion (review here)- $11M
Traditionally football movies have only done okay at the box office, but what about a movie that hammers the NFL for being negligent about the health of its players? Well, that's one Hell of a tough sell. Concussion, which is earning Will Smith the best reviews he's had in years, opened with a lackluster $11M.The film centers on the discovery of the connection between NFL players and severe head injury, which the league and commissioner Roger Goodell denied for way too long. There was a lot of pre-buzz that the story would be toned down to ease up on the league, but the advanced controversy doesn't seem to have attracted much of an audience domestically. Now, Smith is a huge star overseas and there's a good chance the film is huge internationally. And considering the Oscar talk swirling around Smith's performance we could see a boost somewhere down the line.
7. The Big Short- $10.5M/$16M
8. Point Break- $10.2M
Nobody wanted a remake of Point Break, the classic bro flick that starred Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. But we got one anyway, and Warner Bros. decided on top of all the negative buzz they would also not screen it for critics. Bad call, gang. The film opened at $10.2M which is about as bad as could have been expected. In the famous lead roles are the less-than-famous Edgar Ramirez (who thankfully has Joy to fall back on) and Luke Bracy, neither of which is known to put butts in seats.
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2- $5.3M/$264.6M
10. Creed- $4.6M/$96.3M

The 70mm gamble by Quentin Tarantino appears to have paid off as The Hateful Eight's (review here) road show opened with $4.5M at 100 select locations outfitted for the format. That's an incredible $45K per site average, which would look even more amazing if it weren't for the ridiculous business done by Star Wars last week. This came after weeks of haggling over the actual theaters that would present the film in 70mm, plus The Weinstein Company's significant expense outfitting them so they could.  The only downside is that it probably could have done better except the film was leaked onto the Internet early, although this is likely to affect the theatrical version a bit more.

And finally (God damn this was a busy week!) Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's bear-mawling survival thriller The Revenant (review here) opened in 4 locations, earning $471K in the process. It's a hefty start for a film that is expected to earn Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar nomination, and depending on who you ask it may get him his first win. It's worth noting that Inarritu's Best Picture-winning Birdman didn't start off so hot but Oscar buzz and international audiences powered it to over $100M. Don't be surprised if something similar happens here.