'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': When the Film Opens Around the World
J.J. Abrams' tentpole will launch in every major foreign market next week — save for China — timed to its North American debut.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally readying to go into hyperdrive at the worldwide box office.
The movie is now just over a week away from launching in select markets on Dec. 16 before playing in nearly every major market over the Dec. 18-20 weekend. The one exception is China, where it won't debut until Jan. 9.
The big question is whether Force Awakens can match the record-breaking opening of Jurassic World this summer. The latter pic — which had the benefit of kids being out of school, as well as a China berth — raked in $524.4 million, including $315.6 million overseas and $208.8 million domestically. China's opening alone totaled $100 million.
December isn't known for big openings (the current record-holder is 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with $84.7 million). Rather, titles that open over the year-end holidays can see huge multiples, including the two top-grossing films of all time, Avatar (2009) and Titanic (1997).
In an interview late last month, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn urged caution. "There are a number of things that put this film in uncharted territory, literally uncharted territory, making it even more difficult than usual to predict what the opening weekend will be," Horn told The Hollywood Reporter. "Especially this far out from release, with the bulk of our campaign ahead of us."
He continued: "It’s natural for people to want to view this and compare this to a summer blockbuster, but films in December don’t have the same historical release patterns as summer films. In December, it’s rare to see a big debut — there’s only a handful above $70 million, by the way, with the record being something like $84 million. People are shopping, they’re traveling, they also know that their kids are going to be on vacation in a week and they’re going to all go see movies together."
Lucasfilm and Disney had previously announced that Force Awakens would open in France on Dec. 16, followed by the U.K. on Dec. 17. It's usual for movies to open on Wednesday in France and Thursday in England.
Here's a further breakdown of where, and when, the pic launches in terms of the world's major moviegoing markets. Smaller territories where Force Awakens won't open straightaway include India and Greece.
France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Philippines, Thailand.
U.K., Germany, Austria, Russia, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand.
North America (following late-night previews on Dec. 17 in select theaters), Japan, Spain, Venezuela.