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Disney and Lucasfilm have plenty to celebrate after Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered numerous records around the world in its box-office debut this weekend, ushering in a new era for the marquee franchise.
Director J.J. Abrams’ reboot launched to an estimated $238 million domestically, 14 percent ahead of Jurassic World‘s historic $208.8 million launch this summer. That’s no small feat, considering the pre-Christmas corridor isn’t known for big openings.
And there’s a strong chance Force Awakens will come in even higher once final weekend grosses are tallied Monday morning. Rival studios show it approaching $245 million in North America. (Disney has erred on the side of caution throughout the weekend).
Either way, Disney has made history three years after Walt Disney Co. chairman-CEO Bob Iger engineered a deal to pay George Lucas $4 billion for Lucasfilm, home of the Star Wars series.
Globally, Force Awakens landed at $517 million after opening to $279 million abroad. If final weekend numbers are even better, the pic has a shot at matching or eclipsing Jurassic World‘s record-setting $524.9 million worldwide bow.
“I would argue the two-year marketing campaign for Star Wars: the Force Awakens was flawless in its execution,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. “They tailored the campaign to every geography around the world, and did it in a way that still preserved some of the mystery of the film while not leaving a single stone unturned.”
Here’s a breakdown of the movie’s historic ride so far:
Biggest Thursday night — North America
Force Awakens amassed $57 million, easily passing the $43 million earned in previews by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 in July 2011.
Biggest Friday and biggest single day — North America
The film took in $120.5 million, outpacing the $91 million earned by Deathly Hallows 2, the final title in the Harry Potter franchise.
Biggest domestic opening — North America
Force Awakens is only the third movie in history to open north of $200 million. The other two are Jurassic World and fellow Disney release, Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million in 2011).
Biggest December Opening — North America
The seventh film in the Star Wars series did nearly three times the business that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey did in its opening weekend in mid-December 2012.
Biggest December Opening — Global
The previous best was 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($250 million).
First movie to cross $100 million in one day — North America
Force Awakens cracked the $100 million mark less than 24 hours after it started rolling out in theaters at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Biggest location average for a wide release — North America
Boasting a theater average of $57,568, Force Awakens wrested the record previously set by the final Harry Potter film ($38,672).
Record Imax Opening — Global
Imax theaters took in $30.1 million in North America and $48 million worldwide after Abrams shot a key sequence that was on full display on Imax screens. Force Awakens stomped past Jurassic World ($44 million) and did nearly double the $25.2 million launch of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Biggest Opening Weekends — International
Force Awakens scored the biggest opening weekend in key markets including the U.K. ($48.9 million, four-day), 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.
Biggest advance ticket sales — North America
The movie racked up north of $100 million in advance ticket sales — likely closer to $130 million — before it even bowed, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
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