'Star Wars: Force Awakens' Audience: Males Driving Opening-Day Box Office
J.J. Abrams' record-breaking movie — featuring a strong female heroine — is expected to broaden out in the coming days.
Males are feeling the Force big time.
So far, the vast majority of the audience driving J.J. Abrams' runaway smash Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the U.S. is male, or 70 percent of it, according to early exit polls conducted by Rentrak's PostTrak service. The movie went into hyperdrive the moment it opened in North American theaters at 7 p.m., earning a record $57 million in previews and racing past $100 million less than 24 hours later.
The film is skewing notably younger, proving there's a huge nostalgic factor for the franchise across generations, and not just among those who grew up on George Lucas' first three Star Wars films, released between 1977 and 1983. Lucas' three prequels came much later, released in 1999, 2002 and 2005.
Those between the ages of 18 and 24 made up 34 percent of those turning out for the first showings of the movie, the largest age group. That was followed by those between the ages of 25 and 34 (31 percent).
And 15 percent of the audience was between the ages of 13 and 17. It's likely that some in that age bracket were accompanied by parents who grew up on the iconic franchise. Nine percent of the audience was between the ages of 35 and 44, while 6 percent was between 45 and 54.
It's no surprise that only 4 percent were 55 and up; older moviegoers don't generally rush out to see a new film.
"Star Wars has true cross-generational appeal, with audiences split nearly even between over and under 25 years old. Male audiences are flocking to the multiplex to see their beloved Star Wars, but look for women to join in more on the excitement as the weekend wears on and word of the overall greatness of the film continues to emerge," says Rentrak's Paul Dergarabedian.
Indeed, Force Awakens boasts a strong female heroine in Rey, a young scavenger played by Daisy Ridley, and Disney and Lucasfilm have aggressively marketed the movie to females. Box office experts agree with Dergarabedian that Force Awakens will broaden out in the coming days.
The Disney and Lucasfilm's sequel, set 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi, centers around Rey and a renegade stormtrooper (John Boyega) who end up facing a rising evil that includes a new planet-killing laser cannon. The sequel also stars Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong'o and Domhnall Gleeson, along with original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.