Foreign Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Blasts Off With $279M

J.J. Abrams' movie scored the top opening weekend of all time in a number of key markets, including the U.K. and Germany.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is doing historic business in many parts of the world.

J.J. Abrams' sequel/reboot of George Lucas' epic sci-fi franchise opened to an estimated $279 million internationally, the third-highest launch of all time, behind only Jurassic World's $316 million opening earlier this year and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which debuted to $314 million internationally in 2011.

The international tally puts Force Awakens' global debut at a staggering $517 million, the second-best showing in history after Jurassic World ($524.9 million).

Jurassic World's figures, however, included a $99 million opening weekend in China. Force Awakens won't hit the world's second-largest theatrical market until Jan.9. Star Wars has also yet to roll out in India and Greece, two relatively minor markets. The weekend's foreign footprint, according to Disney, represented roughly 68 percent of the international marketplace.

The film's blockbuster opening set all-time records in multiple territories, including the U.K. ($48.9 million), Germany ($27.3 million), Australia ($18.9 million) and Russia ($12.3 million). It debuted at No. 1 in every market except for South Korea and Vietnam.

U.K. figures were the highest four-day opening weekend in industry history. Star Wars: The Force Awakens cannot be directly compared to Spectre, which smashed British box-office records earlier this year, because Sam Mendes' latest Bond was released on a Monday, while Star Wars' take is a Thursday-Sunday bow.

Imax screenings added a record-breaking $48 million to Force Awakens' global take, beating Jurassic World, which had the previous high-water mark of $44 million (a figure that included China). That includes nearly $18 million internationally. The U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia were among the territories reporting record Imax grosses for the film.

Even where Star Wars didn't take the all-time crown, it delivered. In France, the $22.7 million gross was the second-highest in industry history. Spain's $9.6 million bow was the overall No. 3. The film scored the biggest December opening weekend in numerous territories, including the Netherlands, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Argentina and Brazil.

Competition from local blockbusters hurt Star Wars' bow in South Korea, where it took a comparatively low $7.8 million on its first weekend. The biggest bow for a U.S. film in the territory this year was the $23 million Avengers: Age of Ultron earned in its opening frame earlier this year, but that was without local competition.

In Japan, the $13.5 million take was more than double any other opening release this year but well behind the opening weekend of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, which bowed to $18.97 million in Japan in 2005, still the all-time record for the country.