erik lundegaard


Friday January 08, 2016

'The Force Awakens' Passes 'Avatar" to Become Biggest Box Office Hit in U.S. History (Unadjusted)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens becomes the highest-grossing domestic movie of all time

Some time on Wednesday afternoon, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” passed “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing domestic movie of all time.

Here are the numbers, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

Top 5 box office hits unadjusted

That's unadjusted, of course. If you adjust for inflation, it's still hugely impressive: 

 Top 20 box office hits, domestic, adjusted for inflation

I love the adjusted list. It's not full of recent and regrettable infatuations like “Age of Ultron” and “Dark Knight Rises”; most are classic films. In the top 10 alone, six decades are represented: 1930s (twice), 1950s, 1960s (twice), 1970s (thrice), 1980s and 1990s. They're also all original films. No sequels or reboots. It's not until you expand into the top 20 that you see any sequels. See if you can spot the pattern among them:

  • 12. The Empire Strikes Back
  • 15. Return of the Jedi
  • 17. Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace
  • 20. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

That's right. And the highest-ranking non-Star Wars sequel? “Jurassic World” at No. 24, then “Thunderball” at No. 30. Rounding out the top 50: “The Dark Knight,” “Shrek 2,” “Goldfinger,” Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.“ 

That's pretty amazing to me—that the top 20 is devoid of sequels except for ”Star Wars“ sequels. I guess that's how much we love George Lucas' universe.

So now that ”The Force Awakens“ has the unadjusted mark, the big question is where it will wind up on the adusted list. I assume it will get to $845 million to become the highest-ranking ”Star Wars" sequel of all time. Might it reach the top 10? That's $938.4 billion. Tougher. And can it reach $1 billion domestic? Toughest. It's already beginning to fall off now that the kids are back in school. Despite a strong weekend, for example, where it fell off only 39%, it wound up falling 54.7% for the week. 

Talk soon.

Posted at 02:43 PM on Friday January 08, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office