Star Wars-The Force Awakens is only days out of the box office starting gate, but it’s making quite an impression for many reasons. The best acting ever in a Star Wars movie! The redeemer of an entire movie franchise! Its controversial and shocking plot twists! And of course, the fact that only days out of that starting gate, reports are indicating that it is shattering previous box office records and is poised to be the biggest movie of all time.
Okay, hang on a minute, here! After all, this movie has indeed just come out. Given that fact and the fact that new movies come out all the time, surely it’s possible that another new movie could steal the crown? And where do the figures come from that enable a movie to be proclaimed “Biggest Ever” and is it possible to calculate the type of movie that can achieve this level?
Figures on the earnings of any movie are determined by what is known as box office records. It refers to the money earned by a particular film while it is in release, or playing in theaters. These records are usually compiled by theater chains or regions, which generally amounts to the same thing. While movie markets worldwide now use the term, it originated as did the film industry, in the United States.
And it needs to be noted that there is not just one box office record to break. The Force Awakens, for example, has certainly set box office records for “Best Three Day Opening”. But this film has to still earn many hundreds of millions of dollars to unseat the current biggest movie ever, 2009’s Avatar. Other “mini” box office records a film can break to get into record books include “Best One Day Opening”, “Best Holiday Weekend Opening”, and more.
Are there any secrets to predicting box office mega hits in advance? The film itself is its main selling point, but there are factors that can help to predict successes.
One simply can’t point to a certain year and say, “2018 is going to be the year of the blockbuster” based on the year itself. But if one knows that a lot of potentially big and popular films are coming up, then they can do so. The time of year in which a film is released can affect its box office prospects, as can major events, both historic and natural. A lot of these elements factored into making 1939 what’s still considered to be cinema’s best year ever, both in quality of films and in box office figures, like Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz.
A very variable field, often affected by culture, beginning in 1975, many critics feel that cinema saw a general “dumbing down” with movies like Jaws and 1977’s original Star Wars, with broad plots and an emphasis on special effects and action. While popular actors once could propel a film into box office heaven, that trend has changed, and box office success is now often guided by franchises, like superhero movies.
With a coveted holiday opening slot, a wildly successful pre-existing franchise, and delayed international records yet to be tallied, while box office competition is always on the horizon, it would seem as though the Force is with this latest Star Wars offering.