Quite a few people have been asking me how much I think Star Wars will make domestically in its opening weekend. “The largest opening ever” is my answer.
Though the industry loves to talk about how high their box office take is, actual domestic attendance is still trending in decline. Ticket prices continue to inflate at a rate higher than they should (3D/PLFs partially to blame). As such, there’s only one movie (Avatar) in the new millennium that can be counted in the Top 20 of all time, adjusted for inflation. This make Star Wars a little tricky to project, especially because of the December release. Holiday movies generally don’t have the opening weekend strength that summer releases do (for a variety of reasons) yet they tend to have longer legs.
But Star Wars has the largest & most intensely devout following of any fan group in existence. They are the Catholic Church of Geek’s Christianity. Nerd/comic/game culture retains its contemporary popularity BECAUSE of Star Wars (also perpetuated by the internet…a convo for another day). The idea that ONLY 67.8% of tickets sold are for men truly astounds me. That is, I’m quite impressed with the female showing. Speaks volumes about Nerd Culture’s coming-out. 16 years ago, I’d estimate Ep. 1’s opening week was maybe 80%+ male.
The most comparable opening in my mind would be The Avengers which, adjusted for inflation, snagged $218,123,365. And this year’s Jurassic World grabbed an unacceptably large $208,806,270 despite bursting with mediocrity (I’m being kind).
So with great 95% and an 8.2/10 on Rotten Tomatoes (to go with a 91% and an 8.3 by the Top Critics), The Force Awakens should easily stomp both. I think anything below $220 million would be a sore disappointment. $228,783,492 is my guess.