Today, The Force Awakens beat out Avatar to become the highest-grossing movie in the U.S. of all time. That being said, it has a long way to go if it’s going to top Avatar‘s worldwide earnings.
Here’s how the numbers break down:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just surpassed Avatar‘s $760.5 million domestically.
Internationally, TFA is currently sitting at a very respectable $1.54 billion. Avatar though? An incredible $2.78 billion.
That being said, let’s not forget that Episode VII has only been out for 20 days, and has yet to open in China. Even so, $1.26 billion is going to be a damn near impossible gap to close… unless Disney decides to bring the film back for another theatrical run later this year.
How likely is that possibility?
Let’s just say there’s precedent. Four of the previous six Star Wars movies got theatrical re-releases, including the entire original trilogy. A New Hope itself has been re-released on five separate occasions since 1977.
Its first return is particularly relevant, and happened in August 1979. Attached to it was the very first trailer for The Empire Strikes Back (and a Kenner toy catalog). I’d be surprised if Disney was not already considering the possibility of mimicking that strategy, giving Rogue One the exposure boost it might need to reach non-fans.
If it does happen, what would that timing look like?
With a trailer for Rogue One still MIA, a summer return to theaters for The Force Awakens makes a lot of sense in my head.
Give Captain America: Civil War a month or two to breathe, and time a second wave of merchandising (Force Friday Episode II?) to meet it in July or August. Slap on an exclusive Rogue One trailer, and we can almost guarantee the fans will turn out for an opportunity to see TFA on the big screen again. Plus, it has the added bonus of messing with Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad a bit, putting a dent in WB/DC’s two-film-a-year plan.
In short, it means keeping the Star Wars spirit alive all year, translating to a bigger opening for Rogue One; it means a nice revenue boost for TFA, and it means Disney can almost guarantee its box office domination of not just 2015, but this year as well.
And hey, getting another stab at taking the title of “Most Successful Movie of All Time,” isn’t too shabby either.