LOS ANGELES – Almost every theater in America will have multiple screens devoted to ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ when it opens nationwide on December 17. This is the first time a “Star Wars” movie has been released over the holiday season, with all six previous “Star Wars” films having been released over Memorial Day weekend, the traditional release date for summer blockbusters.
The move to the week before Christmas has at least one A-lister with a competing movie a little nervous.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film “The Revenant” is coming out the following weekend, and he knows his film, even though its directed by last year’s Oscar winner Alejandro González Iñárritu, is at a disadvantage.
"I would never think that we'd be able to compete with ‘Star Wars’--that's something that's embedded in our cultural DNA,” DiCaprio told Yahoo! Movies. “But I think when people begin to hear about this movie, they'll want to go see it. And that's all we can hope for."
DiCaprio isn’t the only one with a lot on the line. The stars of “Sisters” (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey) “Daddy’s Home” (Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg”) and “Concussion” (Will Smith) will all be vying for fiewers – and screens – with the gorilla in the room.
“I think 'Star Wars' will be an amazing media event, far more than the last trilogy,” Dan Gainor, VP of business and culture for the Media Research Center, told FOX411. “Social media now dominates, and it is filled with fans, videos, tweets, photos, Vines and more. The Internet was still young when the second trilogy began. Now excitement has built to a fever pitch and whenever the movie comes out, it will smash its opposition like an Imperial Walker crushing an unlucky Ewok.”
But while “Star Wars” may suck viewers and dollars away from the other holiday releases, Jenelle Riley, Deputy Awards Editor at Variety, doesn’t see a tremendous threat to Oscar contenders being released at the end of the year.
“I don’t think it will really affect the Oscar race, unless the picture itself is a big contender – and I hope it is,” she said. “By mid-December, most of the ‘Oscar’ movies have been seen and debated and people have an idea what they’re voting for. Even for films coming out on Christmas Day like ‘Concussion’ and ‘Revenant’ will have likely screened for guilds and industry and be on everyone’s radar.”
"Star Wars" fanatic and podcaster Jon Clarke predicts big things for the upcoming film.
“I think it’s going to be huge, I’m actually surprised at how big it is getting,” he said. “I do think everything is going to have to get out of 'Star Wars' way this Christmas. People are so positive that this is going to be the second coming of the original trilogy that they are going to go regardless of the reviews—even if its bad, people will be there.”
Including Leonardo DiCaprio.
"I'm going to be in line for Star Wars as well," he said.
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.