Weekend Wrap Up
by Tim Briody
December 17, 2017
Finally, after many weeks of box office disappointments, Star Wars returns to save us all.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi brings us the second of the three sequels to the original trilogy (and marks the halfway point of the return of the franchise to theaters, with the Han Solo spinoff set for next year, Episode IX in 2019 and a third standalone film in 2020), and follows the film that rewrote the box office history books two years ago. Nobody was expecting a repeat performance here; we’ve learned countless times from sequels and reboots that the second time around just isn’t as special. For whatever reason, when it comes to the middle part of a defined trilogy, people can wait for the second one, but it primes them for the third. We’ll have to wait another two years to see if that again holds true, but for now, let’s actually report on some good news at the box office, which we haven’t had much of this year.
As we reported yesterday, The Last Jedi earned $104.8 million on Friday, with $45 million of that earned on Thursday night. The Force Awakens earned $120.5 million on Friday, but there was no cause for alarm. Nobody thought The Last Jedi would equal or better The Force Awakens on that first day. Two years ago, where The Force Awakens was going to end up after that Friday was anybody’s guess. There was no established precedent for what was happening. December box office just doesn’t work that way, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Here were the numbers for some of the biggest movies of all time, plus some December openings, now with The Force Awakens included:
Iron Man 3 $68.3 million Friday, $15.6 million Thursday, $52.7 million Friday actual, $158.5 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.00 multiplier
Avengers: $80.5 million Friday, $18.7 million Thursday, $61.8 million Friday actual, $188.7 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.05 multiplier
Avengers: Age of Ultron: $84.5 million Friday, $27.6 million Thursday, $65.8 million Friday actual, $163.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.48 multiplier
Jurassic World: $82.8 million Friday, $18.5 million Thursday, $64.3 million Friday actual, $190.3 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.96 multiplier
Avatar: $26.7 million Friday, $3.5 million Thursday, $23.2 million Friday actual, $73.5 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.16 multiplier.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: $37.1 million Friday, $13 million Thursday, $24.1 million Friday actual, $71.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.97 multiplier
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $91 million Friday, $43.5 million Thursday, $47.5 million Friday actual, $125.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.64 multiplier
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $120.5 million Friday, $57 million Thursday, $63.5 million Friday actual, $190.9 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.00 multiplier
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: $104.8 million Friday, $45 million Thursday, $59.8 million Friday actual, $???.? million weekend minus Thursday, ?.?? multiplier
As you can see, The Force Awakens proved that a movie can open huge in December (before Star Wars happened, December had never even had a $100 million opening, the record was The Hobbit with $84.6 million; The Force Awakens beat that in one day) and still have legs, as it ended up the #1 domestic movie of all-time, by several touchdowns, with $936.6 million.