Femme-centric STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS dominates box-office over Golden Globes earner THE REVENANT

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Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Lucasfilm photo

Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Lucasfilm photo

Star Wars: The Force Awakens stayed atop the North American box office this weekend, its fourth weekend, grossing $41.6 million from 4,134 theaters for a total $812 million. It’s the first movie to ever cross $800 million in the U.S., according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Pamela McClintock, and globally, the movie has overtaken Jurassic World to become the No. 3 film of all time, not accounting for inflation.

Last week, J.J. Abrams’ smash sequel became the highest-grossing film of all time in North America, not accounting for inflation, as it overtook the $760.5 million earned by James Cameron’s Avatar, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Personally, I find it thrilling that the top movie of all time in the U.S. and Canada features a woman as the main character, especially one that is as smart, strong, scrappy, capable, caring and vulnerable as Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Ridley handily carries a film that comes with enough baggage to overload a Super Star Destroyer. She gets plenty of help from a strong supporting cast of new characters (Oscar Isaac’s smart-mouth pilot Poe Dameron, John Boyega’s Stormtrooper-turned-good-guy Finn and Adam Driver’s Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren) as well as old favorites (Harrison Ford’s grizzled smuggler Han Solo and Carrie Fisher’s princess-upgraded-to-general Leia, especially), but make no mistake, The Force Awakens is Rey’s story – and she’s a character worthy to wield the power of the Force.

AWFJ member Nicole Sperling wrote quite eloquently for Entertainment Weekly about “The Power of Rey” and her experience taking her 10- and 12-year-old daughters to see the film:

“Leaving the theater, my girls felt as empowered as their brother usually does after seeing one of the many blockbusters built for him. They never commented on how pretty Rey is. They never had to flinch because Rey was a sexual object to some man in power. They just felt strong. Equal. I can only imagine how the film will feel to girls in parts of the world where women are not allowed control over their own bodies or hearts or minds. Imagine a generation of both sexes, growing up believing that girls are powerful. Imagine the force of a billion girls realizing that, one day, they can rule the galaxy.”

This is the third year in a row that the top-grossing movie of the year has featured a female main character: According to Deadline.com, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –  Part 1 topped Guardians of the Galaxy to become the biggest moneymaker of 2014, while The Hunger Games: Catching Fire overpowered Iron 3 to become the top-grossing film of 2013. (Mockingjay – Part 2 was the seventh highest-grossing movie of 2015, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.)

Here’s hoping such an impressive streak will finally convince the Hollywood suits that movies about women really, truly, consistently make money and that their success isn’t some sort of anomaly.

In her 2015 assessment, my 5-year-old daughter rated The Force Awakens as her favorite movie of the year and Supergirl as a her favorite TV show.

Even better, her 9-year-old brother said the same thing.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in “The Revenant." Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. photo

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in “The Revenant.” Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. photo

The Revenant wins big at Golden Globes, box office

The gritty survival tale The Revenant won big at the 73rd annual Golden Globes, earning best drama film, best actor in a drama for Leonardo DiCaprio and best director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, according to Variety.com.

Brie Larson won best actress in a motion picture drama for her harrowing turn as a mother fighting her way out of captivity and into wholeness in Room, Jennifer Lawrence was named best actress in a motion picture comedy for her turn as Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano in Joy, and Kate Winslet earned best supporting actress in a motion picture for her portrayal of Joanna Hoffman, a member of Apple’s original Mac team, in Steve Jobs. 

Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, which focused on the emotional journey of an 11-year-old girl, was named best animated feature film. To see the rest of the Golden Globes winner list, click here.

The Revenant also overperformed at the weekend box office, giving The Force Awakens a run for its money and earning a better-than-expected $38 million from 3,375 locations on the eve of the Globes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the U.S., 70 percent of the audience polled Friday night by CinemaScore said they turned out because of DiCaprio.

The bloody R-rated epic cost $135 million to make and was considered a risky proposition. But it drew plenty of female moviegoers – 43 percent – and 73 percent of the audience was over the age of 25, according to the trade publication. Just another good reason that Hollywood really needs to stop assuming that all movies must appeal to white teenage boys to be financially successful.

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