It is here. Finally. After a year of hype and countless trailers and posters, Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally opened last night and it already set the record for biggest evening preview gross, raking in $57 million from 7 PM or later show times.
To give context, the previous record holder was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which opened to $43.5 million on a Thursday night in 2011. That record stood for over four years and no other movie has even come close to matching that sum. Until now.
What’s more impressive is that this is on a Thursday night in December, not July, which is when Deathly Hallows (P2) set the record. It also managed to shatter the biggest single day gross for a Thursday – $50 million – which coincidentally was held by Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith for over ten years.
There were questions about the probability of a record breaking weekend for the long dormant franchise with this being the first film in the 38-year franchise to not open in the summer, where grosses are much higher. The holiday times – most notably December – is know for its longevity and not its inflated weekends. Titanic and Avatar, the two highest grossing movies of all time, opened to smaller initial numbers but had long life spans at the box office. But this isn’t just another movie franchise, it’s Star Wars. The December opening weekend record holder is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with $82.6 million. The Force Awakens almost broke that record in less than one day in release.
It is same to assume at this time, that many more records will fall by the time the sun fades on Sunday. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in theaters now.