The power to destroy a planet isn’t the only thing insignificant next to the power of The Force – box office records are also being smashed like Alderaan by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The latest installment of the Star Wars saga not only holds the new record for highest-grossing opening weekend haul, it’s also just beaten previous record holder Spider-Man 2’s Monday take, earning $81.8 million yesterday and bringing its already galactic sized payout to $610.8 million.
The film’s success caps off a mind-blowing year that sees domestic box office returns nearing $11 billion. More importantly it unseats the year’s previous opening weekend champion, Universal’s Jurassic world. Befitting the milestone, Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall paid tribute to the success of The Force Awakens yesterday on Twitter.
That heartwarming bit of good-sportsmanship not only ensures continued domestic bliss for Marshall (he has of course been married to Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy since 1987), it continues a longstanding tradition established by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas back in the 1970s of congratulating one another whenever one of them manages to take out the other’s reigning box office record.
Starting with the original Star Wars, which unseated Spielberg’s Jaws, the two have taken out trade ads numerous times, among them E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. The tradition was expanded as other filmmakers and studios began to muscle in on Spielberg’s and Lucas’ box office dominance, notably in 1998 after the huge success of James Cameron’s Titanic. The tradition was revived this year when Disney/Marvel congratulated Universal after Jurassic World‘s opening weekend unseated The Avengers.
The interesting thing of course is that yesterday’s hat tip from Universal moved the tradition to Social Media rather than the trades. Time will tell if this signals a permanent switch, but it’s certainly in line with the increased importance of social media in film marketing. The tweet has so far been shared or favorited more than 10,000 times.