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Star Wars: The Force Awakens beats The Revenant in US, sets China record

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Story by Jack Foley

STAR Wars: The Force Awakens has remained at the top of the US box office for a fourth straight weekend by beating off the stronger than expected competition posed by Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant.

The Force Awakens grossed $41.6 million in the US, not as far ahead as The Revenant as was expected. Instead, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s blood-soaked Western epic took a whopping $38 million – much, much better than anticipated.

Returning to Star Wars, the film also opened in China over the weekend and set a new record by taking $53 million debut in China – the biggest Saturday-Sunday opening of all time in the Middle Kingdom.

Globally, that means The Force Awakens has now passed the $1.669 billion grossed world-wide by Jurassic World to become the third highest grossing film of all time behind Avatar ($2.78 billion) and Titanic ($2.19 billion) with $1.73 billion in ticket sales, not accounting for inflation.

The China opening could mean that the film will ultimately de-throne at least one, if not both of James Cameron’s top grossers internationally.

Back in the US, while Star Wars remained on top, the biggest winner of the weekend was undoubtedly The Revenant.

Pre-weekend tracking had put the movie opening in the $20 million range but its $38 million debut underlines the star power of leading man DiCaprio.

It also rewards Fox’s faith in making it, given that it cost $130 million and isn’t necessarily an easy sell to audiences given its unflinching action.

Commenting on its success, Fox domestic distribution Chris Aronson told The Hollywood Reporter: “The combination of bold, ambitious and innovative filmmaking with Leo’s remarkable performance is being embraced by audiences. The Revenant is a prime example of our industry at its finest.”

Elsewhere in the US, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s Christmas comedy Daddy’s Home came in third with $15 million for a strong US total of $116.3 million. If its success continues, the Paramount movie could become Ferrell’s No. 2 live-action comedy of all time behind Elf ($173 million).

Another surprise success, meanwhile, came in the form of the Natalie Dormer horror film The Forest, which came in on the higher end of expectations with $13.1 million to land fourth spot.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s comedy Sisters rounded out the top five with $7.2 million for a US total of $73.9 million.

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