'Star Wars: Force Awakens' Racks Up $50M-Plus in Advance Ticket Sales

star wars force awakens -H 2015
Courtesy of Lucas Films

J.J. Abrams' tentpole is now four weeks away from opening.

With a month left to go, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has racked up more than $50 million in advance ticket sales in North America, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

That's double the previous record set by The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 with $25 million. Imax alone accounts for a third of all ticket sales, according to sources. Force Awakens, looking to reboot George Lucas' Star Wars series, begins rolling out the evening of Dec. 17 in North America. Overseas, it opens day-and-date in much of the world.

There are still plenty of seats available for opening weekend in the U.S., according to online ticket services.

Still, the ticket-buying frenzy puts Disney and Lucasfilm in the enviable but still challenging situation of managing expectations. Many believe Force Awakens will score the biggest North American debut of all time, ahead of the $208.8 million earned in June by Jurassic World. The question is, by how much. Some believe Force Awakens could cross $250 million and even approach $300 million.

In May 2012, The Avengers made history when opening to $207 million domestically, then a record. Capacity was at 63 percent.

At the same time, the pre-Christmas corridor isn't know for huge openings, with consumers distracted by holiday preparations. Rather, movies can amass huge fortunes during the final two weeks of the year, and especially the week between Christmas and New Year's weekend. To date, the biggest December bow is 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($85 million).

Online sales began Oct. 19 for Force Awakens before the full trailer debuted on ESPN's Monday Night Football, with ticket sites like Fandango crashing under demand fueled by social media buzz. According to Twitter, between 11 a.m. Oct. 19 and 11 a.m. Oct. 20, there were 1.1 million Star Wars-related tweets.

By the morning of Oct. 20, Fandango had recorded record presales, selling eight times as many tickets as it did on the opening day of sales for the first Hunger Games movie. Imax, which will show the film in about 390 theaters domestically, sold around $6.5 million worth of tickets in 12 hours — it previously never had sold more than $1 million a day in presales. In less than 12 hours, AMC sold out more than 1,000 shows nationwide, setting its own record (its Imax auditoriums accounted for 38 percent of sales). 

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Force Awakens has hit a record in terms of advance ticket sales.