January 19, 2016
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' May Fall Short Of 'Avatar' For All-Time Box Office Record

Star Wars: The Force Awakens could be on the verge of falling short of Avatar's all-time box office record, according to industry analysts, who recently shared their concerns with the Hollywood Reporter.

Calling the film a "faster burn" than Avatar, contributor Pamela McClintock highlighted that the new Star Wars film "isn't as strong in parts of Asia and Latin America" as it is in "North America and more mature markets."

Indeed, the frenzy surrounding director J.J. Abrams' popular renewal of the billion-dollar franchise is dying down, but that doesn't mean the film didn't crush a few milestones to get to this point.

According to Box Office Mojo, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has earned a staggering $822.8 million in the U.S., far exceeding Avatar's $760 million domestic lifetime take.

The global box office, however, is what's putting James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi film over the top. Calculating box office from all markets, Avatar did more than $2 billion over the course of its 34-week run.

By the end of that run, it had averaged just north of $11.7 million per day (globally). The new Star Wars has been in release for just 27 days and recently hit the $1.78 billion mark. That means it still has $1.01 billion to go before overtaking Avatar.

And while it is averaging an impressive $65.9 million per day, the numbers have been falling quickly of late. It's unlikely that TFA will get a 238-day run, and if it does, it is unlikely that it will be able to maintain the $11.7 million average needed to match Avatar in doing so.

That said, there are still some ways that Disney could leverage its marketing zeitgeist to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the eventual winner.

Since Star Wars is just now starting to emerge in immature markets, there is tremendous opportunity for the film's positive reception to build enthusiasm for a re-release prior to Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017.

It's almost a given that Disney will attempt to roll out TFA for a second go. While the theoretical re-release would certainly not draw the same numbers Disney is currently seeing, it could generate enough.

After all, the THR piece estimates that this Star Wars could top out at as much as $2.4 billion globally.

If that happens, then a global re-release a month or two prior to Episode VIII would only require a $500 million gross. Disney could then spend the interim period saturating the immature markets with toys, television, etc.

While some might consider that "cheating," keep in mind that Avatar did what it did in 238 days, and it did get a re-release after it had finished an initial run.

If Disney were to commit to the same length of time in theaters, but break it up with a period of buzz in between and station it close to the next film's release, then Avatar's days could be numbered after all.

One thing is for certain, though. While Avatar may be safe in keeping the box office record at the present, the property is nowhere close to being as valuable as Star Wars as a whole, especially in Disney's hands.

THR estimates that the company will pull $600 million in consumer products revenue from The Force Awakens, making the movie itself worth around $3 billion. And with a Star Wars anthology film (Rogue One) expected in 2016, Episode VIII in 2017, and an untitled Han Solo spinoff after that, the renewed franchise is just getting started.

But what do you think about these predictions, readers?

Will the new Star Wars film eventually overtake Avatar? Sound off in the comments section.

[Image via Lucasfilm]