‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is Tracking Huge; How Much Can it Really Make?

In two weeks, theaters will be stampeded. In two weeks, the internet will break. In two weeks, Disney will become our overlords. In two weeks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is being released. Finally. It’s really happening. I almost forgot this was a real movie. Journalists and fans across the globe have been hyping the first Star Wars film in a decade for over three years, so it’s hard to believe it’s actually coming out in the first place. But here it is. Just two weeks away. I could go on about this movie and everything related to it for days on end, but for this post, I’m sticking exclusively to box office.

A little over three months ago, I shared some early predictions for The Force Awakens, but this close to show time, we have a much clearer projection for the film’s box office take. In said piece, I went into detail about how Star Wars could easily fall below Jurassic World, and why that’s perfectly okay. Now, that could still happen. Both are blatant nostalgia porn coming off of widely-despised sequels several years earlier, so it would make sense that the one with Chris Pratt would gross more. But in the last couple months, Disney’s marketing campaign kicked in full-throttle, and they’ve knocked it out of the park.

In addition to the nostalgia card and brand recognition, recent TV spots have highlighted the non-linguistic and indisputably cute BB-8, as well as the diverse cast. There are maybe two major female characters in the other six Star Wars movies, and Rey appears to have more screen time than both of them in the trailers alone. It’s also been a pretty ubiquitous campaign, with previews being shown everywhere from Monday Night Football to the American Music Awards to Disney Channel. A soft, cautious marketing campaign in the first three quarters of 2015 has become a ferocious beast since the final trailer debuted in October.

The Hollywood Reporter recently reported that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was tracking to gross $1 billion in the states alone, and another $2.5 billion overseas. I honestly can’t deny this, because theoretically, it could happen. It could also open with “only” $150 million and under $500 million when all’s said and done, for a worldwide cume of a billion dollars or so. The point is, The Force Awakens will not fade into oblivion, forgotten for all eternity if it somehow doesn’t make billions and billions of dollars. At the end of the day, this will be a memorable blockbuster event that fans can enjoy and discuss for decades. If we set our expectations too high (in terms of both box office and quality), we’ll set ourselves up for a galaxy-sized disappointment. Still, this is probably the most anticipated movie ever, and it’s destined to make a solid chunk of cash.

My current prediction for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a $196 million opening weekend, followed by a gentle fall in its sophomore frame: $111 million. Ultimately, the film will gross $718 million in the United States, and just over $2 billion across the globe. With numbers these big, it’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint a precise number. In the weeks before their respective releases, Jurassic World was projected to do around $450 million, and Age of Ultron was predicted to make a whopping $650 million. Those numbers ended up flipping between the two films. My forecast could end up being way too low, way too high, or right on the ball. We’ll have a better idea when those opening weekend numbers come in. Until then, let’s cross our fingers that J.J. Abrams delivers a fantastic beginning to the newest Star Wars trilogy. Or at least, better than The Phantom Menace. As long as there are no Gungans, Ewoks, or midichlorians, I think I’ll be okay.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015.

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