George Bluth used to say that there’s always money in the banana stand, but these days it seems like there’s always money in massive movie franchises with multi-generational appeal. We saw it earlier this summer with ‘Jurassic World,’ which set a record by scoring a $524.4 million global opening and $1 billion in just 13 days. However, with a return to a galaxy far, far away on the horizon, experts say that another highly anticipated sequel in a beloved film series would surpass those numbers faster than the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run.
According to Deadline, experts predict that ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will clock in a new record with a $615 million worldwide opening when the long-awaited follow-up to ‘Return of the Jedi’ hits theaters this winter. It may even surpass the record time set by ‘Jurassic World’ as the fastest film to reach $1 billion. But the estimated $300 million domestic and $315 million international box office numbers should come easily thanks to a surprising deal with IMAX.
The Hollywood Reporter shared that J.J. Abrams’ upcoming blockbuster will play on all of IMAX’s large-format screens in North America and most of its foreign screens for a whole month starting on December 18th. That means that ‘Episode VII’ is expected to open on 375 to 400 screens domestically and more than 400 abroad in chains like Regal, AMC, and Cinemark, as well as museums and other non-theater screens that have previously played other major Hollywood features like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’.
Though this may be an unusual move, it isn’t an unprecedented one. All three movies in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy had similar runs, but it’s not exactly a common practice to keep a film on IMAX screens for such a long period of time. And of course this will affect other releases coming out around that time as well. Ron Howard’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ starring Chris Hemsworth will only be given a one-week IMAX run. Then, Alejandro González Iñárritu is set to follow up the award-winning ‘Birdman’ with ‘The Revenant’ featuring Leonardo DiCaprio on January 8th. However, it shouldn’t suffer too much since it premieres towards the end of third of four weeks of ‘The Force Awakens’.
What do you think about the extended IMAX run for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’? Do you think that those sales will propel the film’s box office earnings to $600 million and beyond in record time? Let us know in the comments.