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A while ago, Disney CEO Bob Iger made his doubts regarding the predicted success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens known, but a recent move by the Mouse House suggests that the film will completely dominate the landscape during its opening month. This December, the seventh installment of the beloved franchise has dibs on all IMAX theaters in the U.S. That means all other films, including The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio and In the Heart of the Sea with Chris Hemsworth, won’t be screening in IMAX for four weeks starting on December 18. Just Star Wars.
This deal also includes most IMAX formats overseas. The folks at IMAX previously made a similar pact with the Hobbit movies. However, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, this was made four years ago, and IMAX hadn’t made the move since. IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster is now confident that Star Wars will be a massive success. As he said, The Force Awakens marks a major crossover, in that it crosses over to everyone.
This, obviously, affects films opening in and around Star Wars’ debut. In the Heart of the Sea, directed by Ron Howard, is scheduled for theaters on December 11, which means it will only have one week in IMAX before Star Wars takes over. The Revenant, from Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu, opens on January 8, at the tail end of Star Wars’ third week of its four in IMAX. Though, the film could potentially receive IMAX offerings starting the weekend of the 15th.
About three weeks ago, Bob Iger wanted to reset our expectations for The Force Awakens. Box office analysts were estimating the film to earn anywhere from $650-$750 million domestically and $1.3-$1.5 billion internationally. However, Iger argued during Disney’s routine earnings call that there are still audiences around the world who are not as well versed with the world of Star Wars and might not be as apt to go see The Force Awakens when we haven’t had an installment in years.
On the contrary, if Jurassic World was any indication, there are still a crap ton of people world wide who live for nostalgia-tickling films. With all due respect to the dino-tastic extravaganza, if Jurassic World can become the third highest-grossing movie of all time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a lot more than a snowball’s chance in hell of reaching the same feat (and possibly exceeding it).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens features a combination of returning cast members — including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford — and franchise newcomers — including John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, and Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanta. It opens everywhere on December 18.