Now that the Force has finally awakened, we finally see if all the hype is justified, and nerds worldwide can let out a collective sigh of relief (hopefully). We all know that’s it’s going to be an enormous hit, but the question I want to try and figure out is, just how big a hit will the new Star Wars be?

There’s very little in the way of hard data to go on when trying to predict box office takings, it depends on so many things (tracking, theatre count, weather, the economy, how people feel at any given moment, etc) that getting a definitive answer is tough. But I’m going to try and wade through the data, and come up with a number. So, let’s dive in:

Australians loves them some Star Wars. All the prequels were amongst the biggest titles for the years they were released (1999, 2002 and 2005), and they provide the best basis for predicting what Episode VII might do. The reigning opening champ for the franchise is Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith which opened to $13.5 million from an ultra wide 535 theatres, and that was after fan expectations had already taken a beating from Episodes I and II. It reached $27 million in total, which is probably a little disappointing based on that opening. I’m not sure of the theatre count for the latest instalment, but with all the buzz surrounding it and the whispers that it returns the saga to it glory days, I have no qualms with saying that it’ll beat both those numbers, and become the top grossing Star Wars title yet (without adjusting for inflation).


The current weekend champ is Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 which conjured up $18.3 million in 2011 on it’s way to $52.6 million. Two 2015 releases have also posted $15+ million openings, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron ($15.7 million opening, $30.9 million total) and Jurassic World ($16.07 million opening, $52.9 million total). These titles all had the same thing that The Force Awakens has going for it, massive in-built audiences. All are sequels, or reboots, and come with a name cache that just prints money. However, no movie title has more cache than Star Wars, and so I’m going to go for it and say that by the end of Sunday we’ll have an new all-time weekend champ. I’m predicting an Australian opening of $23 million, and if it’s as good as they say it is, I think that it’ll have the legs to push past the $57 million total of Titanic and take 2nd place in all-time gross. No. 1 is Avatar at $115.6 million, and even if Episode VII is a better movie (which wouldn’t be hard), I don’t really see it beating that record.

Star Wars vs Avatar

Looking further afield, box office prognosticators are having a field day trying to come up with a number for both the US and Worldwide openings for The Force Awakens. Both US domestic opening and foreign all-time records belong (thus far) to 2015 champ Jurassic World. It chomped through a $208.8 million US debut and a foreign opening of $316.7 million after showing simultaneously in almost every market.


The guess from the people who know best seems to be that J.J Abrams’ long-awaited sequel stands a chance of beating the US record, if not the foreign opening. The reason being that the second largest film market in the world, China, isn’t getting the film until January 9th because of their annual blackout period to foreign movies. This will certainly hit the foreign total hard, because China accounted for $96 million of Jurassic World‘s debut. Still an opening north of $210 million in the US seems to be doable, even reaching as high as $220-225 million. Episode VII has already seen it’s pre-sales jump 20% from where Jurassic World‘s were at the same point, and indeed it’s already posted more than $100 million in pre-sales alone (but they won’t all go towards the first weekend).

There’s very little in the way of competition to speak of besides ageing blockbusters – two other films are opening; Tina Fey/Amy Poehler starrer Sisters and an Alvin And The Chipmunks sequel, and they’re not looking to make more than $15 million each – and the only other thing that could potentially bring down the gross is the Christmas period itself (shopping, travel, parties, etc). I’m willing to bet that the Star Wars faithful and even the casual fans will make space in their weekend for this though, no one wants to be left out of the conversation for the biggest pop-culture event of the year.

Final opening predictions:

Australian opening weekend – $23 million

US opening weekend – $219 million

Foreign opening weekend (including Australia) – $285 million

Come back on Tuesday to see how my predictions panned out. How big do you think The Force Awakens will be? Make your predictions in the comments below!