Why Star Wars 7 Probably Will Beat Avatar's Box-Office Record, According To One Expert

The Force Awakens set nearly every opening weekend record that was possible to set. Now that the weekend is out of the way, the question becomes what kind of legs does this movie have? How long can it remain a powerhouse at the box office? Is this the movie that will topple Avatar as the all-time box office champ? According to one analyst, there’s a very good chance that the new Star Wars will become the biggest movie ever.

In addition to its record head start, by banking nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in its opening weekend, there are several other reasons that Episode VII may overtake Avatar. The two biggest, however, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, are overseas business, and the positive buzz the movie has here.

Given the incredible current box office trajectory and the overwhelmingly positive response to the film, an expected phenomenal second weekend and with China yet to come in January, if any film has a chance to break into the $2 billion club and have the potential to become the highest grossing film of all-time globally, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that film.

The box office business has yet to slow down. According to Variety, The Force Awakens moved on from setting the all-time weekend record to having the biggest Monday in the history of the US box office. It took down the previous record holder Spider-Man 2 by more than $10 million. With a 95% Rotten Tomato rating, the buzz toward the movie is incredibly positive. Plenty of movies have had great opening weekends, but when the word of mouth coming out of them is mediocre, or poor, the second weekend can drop precipitously. The overwhelmingly positive response here means that another great weekend for Star Wars is all but assured.

And all of this is before the movie even opens in China. December is a blackout period for the Chinese box office, where the nation prevents foreign films from opening in order to give their domestic movie business some time to breathe. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to open there on January 8th. China has been a huge part of Hollywood’s business this year. The nation has been capable of turning movies that were duds domestically into money makers, and money makers into blockbusters. China was responsible for about 25% of Jurassic World's total business this past summer. There’s no reason to believe that Star Wars can’t do the same.

Only two movies in history have ever broken the $2 billion mark globally, and they’re both James Cameron films. Avatar sits at the top, with Titanic close behind it. Still, the gap between those two and Jurassic World at number three is about a half billion dollars. Beating Jurassic World and breaking the $2 billion barrier are very different things.

Do you think Star Wars will take its place at the top of the heap? How much money have you spent on tickets so far?

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.