The Revenant has beaten Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office — no small accomplishment even though it was only for a day.
While The Force Awakens has been in theaters for going on 23 days, it has shown very few signs of slowing down, crossing the $1.6 billion mark and obliterating Avatar’s lifetime domestic gross record in the process.
When Friday numbers were posted, many analysts were suspecting that the combination of Leonardo DiCaprio star power and early Oscar buzz would be able to place the survival tale over the top.
However, the general consensus was that it would be a neck-and-neck sort of thing, and while TFA was formidable, the lead was commanding enough that The Revenant is likely to hold out for the entire weekend, making it the first post-Star Wars release to knock Disney’s blockbuster off its perch.
Just how good did The Revenant perform in comparison?
According to Box Office Mojo, it took in $14.4 million in its opening day while The Force Awakens added another $10.76 million to the till.
Combined with its limited release numbers, the DiCaprio drama is now at just under $16 million, with no foreign releases at this time. That is roughly one percent of what Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taken in worldwide.
However, it’s close to 35 percent better in head-to-head, day-to-day numbers.
Even if TFA closes the gap on Saturday and Sunday, it likely won’t be enough to reclaim the top spot — at least for now. The dynamics could change next weekend, though J.J. Abrams’ continuation of the space opera is showing clear signs of slowing down.
Just how clear?
Last weekend, the worldwide daily average was at $82 million. Now it has dropped to $72 million per day. If it hopes to beat the all-time worldwide record set by Avatar in 238 days of release, it will have to average around $5.6 million per day in the next 216 days to pull it out.
That may not be possible without Disney pulling the film from release and staging a special re-release in the buildup to the as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Getting back to The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens comparison, one other interesting “storyline” surrounding it involves the recent revelation that Leonardo DiCaprio actually had the opportunity to play Anakin Skywalker in Episodes II and III and turned it down.
The multi-time Oscar nominee implied that he didn’t do Star Wars and that he had never done a superhero film because the films offered to him didn’t “feel right” for his career at the time they were offered.
In the case of the prequel trilogy, it was probably a wise move since all three films are now pretty maligned by fans of the series and the two actors that did play Anakin — Hayden Christensen and Jake Lloyd — went on to relative obscurity.
Leonardo, on the other hand, has been able to work with many of Hollywood’s biggest directors after what some would call the most highly-paid internship of all time under film legend Martin Scorsese.
DiCaprio’s work with the director includes The Departed, Gangs of New York, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Aviator. His success in those films also set up opportunities with Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Ridley Scott (Body of Lies), Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road), and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained).
The Revenant continues in that tradition, placing DiCaprio with Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose Birdman garnered a Best Picture win at the 2014 Academy Awards.
While Oscar nominees have yet to be announced for the 2015 film year, many believe that Leonardo DiCaprio could take home his first Best Actor win for his role in the film.
Have you seen The Revenant yet? How did you think it compared to Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via The Revenant screen grab]