Oscar box office report: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ sets record; ‘The Big Short,’ ‘The Danish Girl’ stay strong

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" shattered box office records, making a staggering $238 million for Disney in its first four days. That outpaces all-time box office champ "Avatar," which won three of its nine Oscar bids. That James Cameron sci-fi epic contended for Best Picture but lost to "The Hurt Locker," which was helmed by Cameron's ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. Do you think this seventh instalment of the "Star Wars" will be the first to reap a bid in that race since the original did back in 1977 when it was bested by "Annie Hall"? Make your prediction at the bottom of this post. 

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Warner's "Creed," the seventh film in the "Rocky" franchise, shed just over 1,000 screens (with most of them screeening "Star Wars"). However, it still added another $5.1 million for a total gross of just under $88 million in four weeks. And Disney is still doing well with the Pixar pic "The Good Dinosaur," which took in $4.2 million (much of that at reduced kiddie admissions) and has made $97 million in four weeks.

Over on the very crowded limited side, Sony Pictures Classics unspooled "Son of Saul," the Oscar frontrunner for Best Foreign-Language Film in three locations in New York and Los Angeles and made just under $13,000 per screen. The studio plans to expand to four more cities on January 8 and then at least another five on January 15, the day after Oscar nominations are announced.

Paramount's "The Big Short" stayed strong in its sophomore session taking in an impressive $350,000 at just eight locations in New York and Los Angeles. That translates into a tick under $44K per screen. By comparison, last week opened in these same theaters to a jaw-dropping  per screen average of $90K. By comparison, "Steve Jobs" did $130K in weekend one while "Sicario" averaged $67K and "Carol" came in at $62K PSA.  

Fox Searchlight's "Youth" did well as it expanded from 17 to 61 screens in its third weekend, grossing $$247K while The Weinstein Company's "Macbeth" dropped down to 97 theaters (from 108) and made $136,000.

Among the longer holdovers, Focus Features' "The Danish Girl" did great business again in its fourth weekend with $538K at 81 locations (up from 24); that translates into a per screen average of just over $6,600. The studio plans a slow roll out in the weeks to come.

"Carol" packed them in once again, earning an impressive $230K in its fifth weekend at 16 locations. The Weinstein Company won't expand at all till mid-December before going wide after Oscar nominations are announced in mid-January. 

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Our leading contender for Best Picture "Spotlight" made just over $2.5 million in its seventh weekend as it dropped 264 screens for a total of 825 nationwide. That haul of just under $1,800 per screen for this Open Road release was good enough for eighth place on the overall box office chart and its cumulative take is now up to $22.9 million as awards season heats up. 

Brooklyn" added another $1.2 million as it contracted to 614 theaters (from 947) nationwide in its seventh week; that puts it in tenth place on the box office chart. With a PSA of $2K this weekend (and total gross of $16.5 million), Fox Searchlight is doing well with this period charmer that stars Saoirse Ronan, a strong Best Actress contender and NYFFC champ, as an Irish emigrant to America in the early 1950s. 

The seventh weekend tally for “Trumbo” was  $385K across 273 screens (down from 554). Bleecker Street has taken in just over $6.2 million to date for this film starring Emmy and Tony champ Bryan Cranston as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo

Boosted by its awards profile, “Room” made $173,000 as it dropped 27 locations for a total of 171 in week ten. This A24 release has racked up just over $4.5 million to date.

Among those titles still in general release, Sony continues to score with "Spectre," which made a respectable $1.4 million in week seven, which was good enough for ninth place overall. Fox did decent business with animated feature "The Peanuts Movie," which added another $535K million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative gross of $126 million (as with "The Good Dinosaur" many of those admissions were at reduced prices). And the studio saw "The Martian" make $465K in its 11th frame for a total tally of $224 million and counting. 

Click here to see ups and downs of Oscar races over entire awards season

As of this writing, all 23 of our Oscar experts (journalists who cover this beat for major media including Variety, Yahoo, USA Today, and Huffington Post) are predicting that "Spotlight" will reap a Best Picture bid. Twenty-two say the same about "Carol" and "The Martian" with 21 expecting the same for "Room" and 18 are forecasting that "The Big Short" and "Brooklyn" will make the cut. 

Among the performers in these pictures, "Room" breakout star Brie Larson sit atops the Best Actress chart. And over in Best ActorLeonardo DiCaprio is now solidly in first place for  "The Revenant," which has unspooled for the industry in advance of its Xmas release. 

Click here to see odds and rankings of our Oscar Experts

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"Star Wars" logo: Disney

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