Star Wars destroys BO records, is biggest Hollywood opener ever

  • Reuters, Los Angeles
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2015 11:21 IST
Chewie, we’re home: Star Wars The Force Awakens is back at the top of the charts as it clocks biggest domestic opening with $238 million in ticket sales. (Disney Studios)

The Force is really strong with Star Wars, which destroyed records at the US and Canadian box office to earn a gargantuan $238 million (app Rs 1428 crores) in sales over the opening weekend, Walt Disney studios said on Sunday. The figure shatters the previous record set by Jurassic World earlier this year when it premiered at $208.8 million.

Globally, Star Wars: The Force Awakens space epic raked in an estimated $517 million, Disney said, breaking records for biggest opening weekend abroad in 18 other countries, including Russia and Germany, and second biggest across four nations. The worldwide figure puts the film in second place behind Jurassic World, which earned $524.9 million globally in its first weekend.

The forces of good and evil clash again in The Force Awakens and the fans are lining up to see it.

The highly anticipated Force Awakens has blazed a record-setting trail since its domestic debut Thursday, taking the prize for highest-grossing domestic opening night with $57 million and biggest domestic single-day sales Friday with $120.5 million. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, previously held both records at $43.5 million for an opening night and $91 million for a first day.

Mind-blowing ticket sales

Analysts had long predicted that the seventh instalment of the space saga, which cost Disney an estimated $200 million to produce, could score the biggest opening weekend ever and could even become the biggest film of all time.

One of them, longtime movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian, called the staggering box office numbers “mind-blowing.” As far as all-time box office sales, two films by James Cameron hold the record -- Avatar ($2.78 billion) and Titanic ($2.18 billion).

Read: Popping my Star Wars cherry

The Force Awakens picks up the intergalactic story of good versus evil 30 years on from The Return of the Jedi, the last episode of the original trilogy. The trio of heroes who appeared in the first of the blockbusters in 1977 -- smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), leader of the rebel alliance, and her twin brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) -- are all back and played by the actors that Star Wars first made famous.

“Our sole focus has been creating a film that delivers that one-of-a-kind Star Wars experience,” Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios said in a statement Sunday. The film is being screened in 4,134 theatres in the United States and Canada, according to industry tracker Rentrak.

Read: Star Wars takes over the world

From New York to Los Angeles, theatres were packed with many spectators buying their tickets more than a week in advance. In New York, some of the city’s larger theatres were playing the film every hour, beginning at 6 am.

The Force Awakens has now been released in nearly every market worldwide except India, where it will come out Friday and China where it hits screens January 9.

“To all of the fans around the world who not only came out in Force to make this such an exciting and astronomical debut but who treated this film as their own and helped preserve the experience for their fellow fans by not spoiling it -- thank you,” Horn said.

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