In this article from Forbes, it is speculated that the box office analysts are setting up Star Wars: The Force Awakens for failure. I agree that The Force Awakens will break box office records. However when the margins are as wide as currently predicted, the movie will be perceived as a failure. Earlier this summer when Avengers: Age of Ultron fell short of the analysts $200+ million predictions there were murmurs of Marvel’s waning popularity and superhero fatigue. That is not the case because that movie went on to pass the billion-dollar threshold at the worldwide box office.
Here is what I believe will happen upon the release of The Force Awakens. As a side note, I do not know any of the math involved in predicting box office, so this all pure speculation. I feel comfortable stating as a fact that The Force Awakens will take the December debut record currently held by The Hobbit because it is Star Wars, and the film is going to open huge. Far bigger than the $84 million made by The Hobbit. That December record will be the record it takes with the widest margin. If The Force Awakens makes the opening weekend record currently held by Jurassic World, it most likely will not be by a wide margin. This article cites another article from Deadline speculating that The Force Awakens could open with $300 million domestic and over $615 million worldwide. Jurassic World opened with $208 million domestic and $524 million worldwide. If The Force Awakens does take the weekend record a more realistic estimate of the numbers would look more like $210 million domestic and $530 million worldwide. If The Force Awakens makes the weekend record by a margin wider than a few million, I would be surprised. Reaching the numbers being speculated by the Deadline article, I do not find realistic. The only way to do that would be if 99% of the movie screens were playing the Force Awakens, and I do not think a theater will play only Star Wars. At any given theater, there will be a few screens dedicated to The Force Awakens. There will certainly be high demand for the movie, but I do not see a theater only playing the film on all of its screens.
That only leaves the big question, will The Force Awakens take down Avatar as box office king? I believe that if The Force Awakens comes out as well received, then yes it will dethrone Avatar. I also believe that The Force Awakens will join both Avatar and Titanic in crossing the $2 billion threshold at the worldwide box office. Titanic crossed that threshold with the 3D re-release. While I happen to believe that this is the course that the box office of The Force Awakens will take. If the movie is anything less than record-breaking, then you will see several articles online and in the media that say stuff like Star Wars: The Force Awakens what went wrong. Though the reality is that nothing went wrong, the movie was only incapable of reaching such ludicrous numbers.