The force is more than awake as Star Wars: The Force Awakens enjoyed a record-breaking opening weekend at the box office. It was never a question that J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the beloved franchise would open big, the question was how big. Now we have an answer and it’s to the tune of an estimated $238 million – a record-breaking domestic opening.
The fanfare revolving Star Wars was past fever pitch this past week as it became more and more apparent that this was, unquestionably, the biggest cultural cinematic event of the year. Thursday night sneaks provided an early clue to the pure dominance of the Star Wars brand as the film totaled a massive $57 million – the previous record holder for Thursday late shows was 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (which earned $43 million, however that was in a different era of box office receipts as Star Wars started Thursday sneaks earlier in the evening- a new normal of now).
With Thursday sneaks included, The Force Awakens pulled in a staggering $120 million in its first day of release, yet another record annihilated. Saturday estimates were $68 million and Sunday is expected to pull in another $48 million. Worldwide figures for the film currently stand at an astonishing $517 million. To put this all into perspective, here are some of The Force Awakens‘ record-breaking stats:
- Largest domestic opening weekend: $238 million (Jurassic World is second with $208 million)
- Largest Thursday preview: $57 million (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is second with $43 million)
- Largest domestic single-day gross: $120 million
- Quickest film to both $100 million and $200 million (Jurassic World is second)
- More than double the largest December opener in history (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is second with $84 million)
- Largest IMAX opening gross: $48 million
- Largest debut for a Star Wars title (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is second with $108 million)
With the industry jolted by this unprecedented opening weekend take, the question now looms on how big The Force Awakens will be the long run. The holiday movie season traditionally is strong on terms of multiples (every day of the next two weeks can play like a Saturday) yet also extraordinarily competitive on terms of screen space and attention. Christmas Day, for instance, sees the openings of Concussion, Joy, Point Break and the limited bows of The Hateful Eight and The Revenant marking one of the most contentious in recent memory.
For now, we stay tuned to the heights The Force Awakens might reach. Without question, however, this was a boom for the industry and an even bigger one for Disney.