Quentin Tarantino‘s “The Hateful Eight” began its national expansion with $3.5 million at the box office on Wednesday, after distributor the Weinstein Company made an 11th-hour decision to push the opening ahead two days. But it was no match for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which rolled up $28 million.
In the process, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” became the highest-grossing film domestically ever for Disney, passing in only 13 days the entire $623 million total gross of Marvel’s “The Avengers” from 2012. It added another $36 million from overseas giving it $65 million worldwide on Wednesday.
The domestic total for “The Force Awakens” is $629 million and international is $664 million, giving it a global haul of $1.29 billion.
TWC’s snowbound frontier thriller “The Hateful Eight” will be expanding from 100 theaters to 2,474 this theaters this weekend and is projected to land in the $20 million range over the five-day period. They see “The Hateful Eight” as having little chance of keeping “The Force Awakens” from setting its third straight weekend triumph at the box office.
A third straight weekend record seems within range, too. “The Force Awakens” will have to top the $68.5 million that “Avatar” put up in 2009. If it keeps half of the $149 million it brought for Disney in last weekend, J.J. Abrams space epic will do it.