Blockbusters Propel 2015 Domestic Box Office to Record $11 Billion

It’s been a record-breaking, $11 billion year at the movies.

Box-office tracker Rentrak said Tuesday that the industry has already reached the benchmark and is expected to end the year with an unprecedented $11.1 billion in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada.

The previous record of $10.9 billion was set in 2013.

This year heralded numerous record-breaking releases, including “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which set a record for February opening-weekend attendance, and “Furious 7” did the same in April. Opening in June, “Jurassic World” scored the biggest debut weekend ever, until it was bested this month by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“Hollywood built the perfect box office beast in 2015, with one hit movie after the next,” said Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian in a statement. (AP)

Advertisements

‘Force Awakens’ Becomes Fastest Movie to $1 billion

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has reached $1 billion at the box office, achieving the milestone with record-setting hyper speed.

The Walt Disney Co. said “The Force Awakens” crossed the billion-dollar mark Sunday, accomplishing the feat in just 12 days. The previous movie to reach $1 billion the fastest was Universal’s “Jurassic World,” which did it in 13 days in June. “Jurassic World” also had the benefit of record grosses in China. “The Force Awakens” doesn’t open in the world’s second-largest movie market until Jan. 9.

J.J. Abrams’ installment of “Star Wars” also posted the biggest Christmas Day box office in history with $49.3 million and the best second-weekend earnings with $153.5 million.

“The Force Awakens” has been setting records since its debut Dec. 17. It brought in a galactic $238 million in North America over its opening weekend, besting previous record-setter “Jurassic World,” and set international opening-weekend records in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe. It scored the biggest worldwide debut with $529 million. It also topped $100 million in IMAX screenings in 10 days, another global record.

“You almost have to rewrite all the record books for this movie,” box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak said. “It’s absolutely mind-blowing that ‘Star Wars’ could get to a billion dollars in 12 days and it hasn’t even opened in China, the second biggest movie market in the world.”

The power of “Star Wars” meant the rest of the week’s releases were competing for second place. That prize went to the Paramount comedy “Daddy’s Home,” which opened with $38.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. David O. Russell’s new drama starring Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy,” debuted in third place with $17.5 million.

A flurry of new films also opened in the top 10 this weekend. “Concussion,” the Will Smith-NFL drama, took in $11 million, good for sixth place, followed by the financial-crisis saga “The Big Short,” which collected $10.5 million. The remake of “Point Break” opened with $10.2 million. And Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “The Hateful Eight,” debuted in 10th place with $4.5 million.

A juggernaut like “Star Wars” empowers the entire industry, Dergarabedian said.

“It’s great for the audiences, great for studios and theater owners in particular who can point to this and say the movie theater industry is as viable and relevant as it’s ever been,” he said.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” $153.5 million ($133.3 international).

2. “Daddy’s Home,” $38.8 million ($4.4 million).

3. “Joy,” $17.5 million ($2 million international).

4. “Sisters,” $13.9 million ($300,000 international).

5. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip,” $12.7 million ($8.1 million international).

6. “Concussion,” $11 million.

7. “The Big Short,” $10.5 million ($1.4 million international).

8. “Point Break,” $10.2 million ($2 million).

9. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2,” $5.3 million ($6.4 million).

10. “The Hateful Eight,” $4.5 million.

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:

1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” $133.3 million.

2. “Devil and Angel,” $55 million.

3. “Mojin: The Lost Legend,” $44 million.

4. “Mr. Six,” $27 million.

5. “The Peanuts Movie,” $25 million.

6. “The Himalayas,” $14.5 million.

7. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip,” $8.1 million.

8. “The Good Dinosaur,” $8 million.

9. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2,” $6.4 million.

10. “Spectre,” $5.6 million. (AP)

N.W.A. Joins Quartet of 1970s Hit-Makers in Rock Hall

The groundbreaking Los Angeles rap act N.W.A. will join a quartet of 1970s era FM radio rockers – Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple and Steve Miller – as 2016 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

N.W.A., led by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, was elected after three unsuccessful nominations in a year when a movie about the group’s career, “Straight Outta Compton,” was a box-office hit. Their hard-core tales of life on the street on songs like “F— the Police” made them a provocative chart presence in the late 1980s and influenced an empire of other acts.

Both Miller and Cheap Trick made it during their first year on the ballot.

The induction ceremony for the Cleveland-based hall will be held April 8 in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. HBO will televise highlights later in the spring.

Guitarist Miller came out of the San Francisco rock scene and became a dependable maker of pop hits like “Take the Money and Run,” ”Fly Like an Eagle,” ”Jet Airliner” and “Jungle Love.”

Midwestern favorites Cheap Trick succeeded with a highly amped version of Beatles-influenced melodies on hits “Surrender” and “Dream Police.” Their “Live at Budokan” album is one of rock’s best-known live sets. Guitarist Rick Nielsen and rumpled drummer Bun E. Carlos gave them an indelible live presence.

Cheap Trick moved swiftly to capitalize on the honor, announcing Thursday they had signed a new deal with Taylor Swift’s label, Big Machine Records. The band will release its 17th studio album a week before its induction.

“Thanks to all the fans who have supported us for all these years and to the Hall of Fame members who cast their votes,” said bass player Tom Petersson. “We are excited and honored.”

The guitar riff for Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” remains one of the most recognizable in rock history. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was a stalwart in a hard rock act that competed with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath for the loyalty of metalheads.

Before shortening its name from the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago was known for its jazz-rock fusion. The band had a string of pop hits including “Saturday in the Park,” ”25 or 6 to 4,” ”If You Leave Me Now” and “Does Anyone Really Know What Time it Is?”

More than 800 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation selected the inductees.

The influential disco-era band Chic is becoming the Susan Lucci of music, failing to win induction in its 10th year as a nominee. Janet Jackson, The Cars, Los Lobos and Yes were among the other nominees rejected. (AP)

Schumer, Morgan, Make Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating List

Amy Schumer, Tracy Morgan and ballerina Misty Copeland are on Barbara Walters’ list of the most fascinating people of the year.

Others who made the cut for Walters’ ABC special include Bradley Cooper, fighter Ronda Rousey, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders and Donna Karan. Others are to be announced.

The person deemed the most fascinating of all will be announced on “Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015.”

The 90-minute special airs Thursday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.

This marks the 23rd year that TV journalist and host Walters has ranked and interviewed celebrities and newsmakers. (AP)