Disney reports this morning that Star Wars: The Force Awakens added $49.344 million on Christmas Friday, making it by far the largest Christmas Day gross in history (soaring past Sherlock Holmes' $24.6 million opening day in 2009). That figure also stands as the 20th best Friday gross in history, and the new record Friday gross for a non-opening day.
With the Christmas Day haul, The Force Awakens has now amassed a stunning $440.4 million domestically through just 8 days of release. The film topped Jurassic World's previous record of 10 days for fastest to cross the $400 million threshold, and it now sits at #11 on the all-time domestic lifetime gross chart -- between Shrek 2 ($441.3 million) and E.T. ($435.1 million). At its current rate, Force will push its way into the all-time top five on Sunday when it will likely surpass the final lifetime gross of The Dark Knight ($534.9 million).
By comparison, The Force Awakens now stands 35 percent ahead of Jurassic World at the same point in its release, and a whopping 175 percent ahead of Avatar.
Although the 79 percent Friday increase from Thursday wasn't quite as strong as Avatar's 107 percent on Christmas Day six years ago (which also fell on a Friday), the trends overall continue to generally line up close enough that a similar weekend multiplier could play out. We're projecting The Force Awakens will take in a sophomore weekend gross of $161 million -- blowing far past Jurassic World's second weekend record of $106.6 million, and even falling line with the actual opening weekends of mega blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million), The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($158.1 million).
Among the slew of new releases hitting theaters this weekend, Daddy's Home stood out the most with an excellent $15.7 million opening day on Friday. The combination of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg has proven successful once again following their 2010 hit, The Other Guys, and is serving as strong counter-programming to the Star Wars juggernaut. BoxOffice projects the comedy will land around $44 million for its opening weekend, far above industry expectations pre-release.
Meanwhile, Joy also posted a solid opening day of $6.85 million. The drawing power of Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro, and writer/director David O. Russell continues to prove its validity. BoxOffice projects a $21 million debut frame.
Opening in limited release this weekend, The Hateful Eight scored $1.905 million from 100 locations showcasing the 70MM Roadshow cut of Quentin Tarantino's newest film. That's an excellent per-theater average of $19,050 and sets the film on a course for a weekend around $4.8 million. That figure could go higher if more than fans of Tarantino and 70MM film turn out after opening day. The film expands nationwide on December 31.
Not to be overlooked in platform release this weekend is The Revenant, which bowed to $171,758 in 4 theaters on Friday and a per-theater average of $42,940. Looking to nab around $460,000 for the weekend, this is an excellent start for the film ahead of its January 8 wide expansion as major awards buzz continues to build in its favor (particularly for star Leonardo DiCaprio).
Overall, this weekend is on pace to crush the Christmas weekend record of $259.9 million accumulated December 25-27, 2009. In fact, last weekend's all-time weekend record of $313 million may well be surpassed.
A full weekend report breaking down the other new releases will follow later in the weekend and on Monday when actuals are reported.