Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had a very good month.
After releasing in theaters on the night of Dec. 17, it managed to smash the U.S. box office record set by Avatar at a record speed, and has continued to push through the $1 billion range.
On Monday, it will cross the $2 billion threshold, becoming only the third film in history to do so.
While the bad news is that The Force Awakens will likely not beat Avatar‘s all-time box office record of close to $2.8 billion, it does have James Cameron’s other blockbuster, Titanic, in its sights.
Titanic grossed a total of $2.186 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The Force Awakens is currently at $1.983 billion, and it’s averaging just over $44 million per day after 45 days of release.
It has been dropping off significantly in its average daily totals, however. Just last week, it was pulling down around $55 million per day worldwide, so the current number means that it’s fallen off by close to 30 percent from where it was.
If the drops continue to be this steep, The Force Awakens could have a hard time beating Titanic‘s worldwide box office take, which would be something of a shock for how it started out of the gate.
One tactic that Disney may wish to try as they close out the film’s theatrical run would be to make one last marketing push — a “see it again for the last time” sort of thing.
They might also consider a four-week engagement in the buildup to 2017’s Episode VIII. Historically, this can grab a film a quick surprise bump. It worked with Titanic, anyway, which initially grossed just $600 million before leaving theaters.
When the studios brought it back for a limited engagement, it added another $58 million to the till.
Avatar was granted a 238-day run in theaters to get to its $2.8 billion figure, so The Force Awakens is in a pretty good spot regardless of whether it ends up usurping one or both of James Cameron’s high-grossers.
Perhaps the biggest victory that the newest Star Wars film can boast over Cameron’s films, however, is in the “what it cost to make” department.
If you visit the Avatar page on Box Office Mojo, you will see that the actual figures are “N/A.” But search around, and you’ll see that many analysts, like Josh Tyler at CinemaBlend, put it in the $500 million neighborhood ($310 million to produce, $150 million to promote).
Essentially, Avatar turned only a slightly better profit than where The Force Awakens is now as the newest Star Wars film cost Disney only around $200 million. Factor in TFA‘s $700 million in licensing revenue — Avatar was much weaker in this category — and it’s looking at a profit thus far of close to $2.5 billion.
That goes a long way in paying off the $4.26 billion debt that Disney incurred when it purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas in 2012.
Now consider that the House of Mouse has a new Star Wars film coming out in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, with more likely, and that it hasn’t even dusted off the Indiana Jones property yet, and it’s unlikely you’ll be seeing Disney experience buyer’s remorse.
As for Avatar 2, its future is more uncertain. Cameron reportedly has the concepts and the script ready, but now The Wrap is reporting a delay from the planned 2017 release date — the second the film has experienced of late.
Cameron is known as a perfectionist, who takes his time to get things right, and he apparently succeeded with the first Avatar, so it could be well worth the wait, whenever it finally arrives.
Which future film are you looking more forward to seeing, readers: Avatar 2 or any of the upcoming Star Wars films?
[Image via Star Wars: The Force Awakens]