At this point, we can officially start calling the box office for Star Wars: The Force Awakens astonishing. Last week’s record breaking opening was massively impressive, but the endurance showcased by the film’s second weekend is even more so. Not only is the film doing well, but word of mouth is strong enough to propel it to a sophomore weekend gross that most movies would kill to earn in their entire runs. However, the holiday weekend was kind to many movies, including most of the five new releases, making this one of the strongest top 10s we’ve seen in quite some time.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $153,522,000 (-38.1%) $37,136 $544,573,329
2 Daddy's Home $38,800,000 $11,862 $38,800,000
3 Joy $17,500,000 $6,043 $17,500,791
4 Sisters $13,880,000 (-0.3%) $4,686 $37,147,018
5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $12,700,000 (-11.1%)
$3,428 $39,399,330
6 Concussion $11,000,000 $3,872 $11,000,000
7 The Big Short $10,520,000 (+2,681.0%) $6,637 $16,013,656
8 Point Break $10,220,000 $3,512 $10,220,585
9 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 $5,300,853 (-10.1%) $2,923 $264,603,802
10 Creed $4,600,000 (-8.2%) $3,030 $96,316,423

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens only dropped 38 percent from last weekend, which is incredible when you consider that most movies of this size tend to drop upwards of 50 percent in their second week. With $153 million made over the past three days, the latest chapter in the most popular science fiction saga of all time is now sitting pretty at $544 million. It’s no longer a question: this movie will outgross Jurassic World’s $652 million to become the highest grossing 2015 release at the domestic box office (and it’ll surely pass it at the international box office, too). From there, it will actually pose a serious threat to Avatar ($760 million) and may may very well become the highest grossing movie ever released in North America. That film’s $2.7 billion international haul is going to require some time and endurance, but that record is also not out of reach. The Force Awakens isn’t done breaking records yet.

In second place, Daddy’s Home opened to an extremely healthy $38 million, the second largest opening ever for a non-animated Will Ferrell movie. Although it’s going to need positive buzz and a little endurance to get there, a final gross of $100 million or so is likely. Ferrell comedies tend to stick around for a good long time. Heck, even Anchorman 2 made it to $127 million.

In third place, Joy, the third collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell, opened with a solid $17 million. That’s not an amazing number on its own, but it’s an amazing number for a relatively low-key release in the middle of one of the biggest holiday weekends of all time, especially since the film’s Oscar buzz has been dwindling as of late.

And that brings us to Sisters, which dropped to fourth place but showcased the kind of staying power that only beloved performers like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler could earn. The film dropped a minuscule 0.3 percent, earning almost the exact same amount of money it made last week ($13 million). This is borderline unheard of and it transforms that mediocre opening weekend into something special. With $37 million in the bank, the film is just about to turn a profit, if it hasn’t already. And who knows where it could go if it sticks around for a while? $60-70 million seems like a conservative estimate.

Similarly, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip dropped only 10 percent, making that weak opening look better in comparison. It still won’t do the business of its predecessors, but with $39 million after two weeks, this film won’t be the total box office disaster it looked like it would be.

The back half of the top 10 also features its fair share of surprises. Although Concussion limped onto the scene with a middling $11 million (probably because Christmas audiences don’t want to be lectured about football injuries) and Point Break just plain bombed (did you see those trailers?), The Big Short expanded from limited release and made $10 million, bringing its current haul to $16 million. That’s an excellent start for a cynical comic drama about America’s financial crisis. In ninth place, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 showed a little staying power, but it’s just about out of juice and will be, by far, the lowest grossing film in the franchise. In 10th place, Creed hit $96 million and it should break $100 million by next weekend.

Meanwhile, outside of the top 10, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight made $4.5 million from only 100 screens. So here’s the question for next week: does this simply represent rabid film fans seeking out the limited 70mm “roadshow” version of the film, or is it a sign of a bigger box office return when the film expands in January?