According to studio estimates, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was able to rake up $57 million on midnight showings at the North American box office, according to Forbes. The event that millions upon millions of fans have been waiting for has finally arrived, and their love for the franchise is showing in spades. The J.J. Abrams-directed sequel began showing at 7 p.m. and are playing around the clock, with 47 percent of the shows Thursday night being in 3D. IMAX screenings also set a new record, earning $5.7 million from 391 screens, which practically doubles the previous record of $3 million.
Previously, before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the last entry in the wizard franchise, was the reigning king of Thursday night ticket sales with $43.5 million in Thursday previews in July of 2011. The Dark Knight Rises came second by taking in $30.6 million in 2012, and Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 followed with $30.4 million, also in 2012. Jurassic World broke records earlier this year with its $208.8 million domestic debut at the box office; however, with the incredible Thursday night opening, as well as the early Friday morning estimates for The Force Awakens, it’s entirely possible that the new Star Wars movie could go beyond Jurassic World numbers in its opening weekend.
— MTV News (@MTVNews) December 18, 2015
Still in #StarWarsTheForceAwakens afterglow. Lightsaber battles with real emotion. Backstory with real history. Simple elegance.
— Brad Meltzer (@bradmeltzer) December 18, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t just a smash hit in the U.S., it’s breaking records overseas, as well. The science-fiction/fantasy epic brought in an incredible $72.7 million in its first two days, for a global total of nearly $130 million. Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned the biggest single day and biggest opening day in the U.K. with $14.4 million, as well as Germany with $7.1 million. In addition, the seventh Star Wars film had the biggest opening day in other continents and countries, including Australia where it pulled in $6.8 million, and the biggest opening day for December in regions including Mexico, with $3.4 million. The movie is going to get the widest December release of all time in North America, playing in a total of 4,134 theaters by Friday.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one of the best reviewed films of the year, scoring an excellent 95 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of Thursday afternoon. Pre-release tracking for the film seemed to suggest that The Force Awakens would make somewhere between $180 million to $220 million for the weekend.
About 94 percent of the ticket sales on MovieTickets.com are for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is not at all surprising. A large number of tickets at 42 percent are being purchased in pairs, which means more people are going to see the film by themselves. Group tickets of 3 or 4 are being purchased at a rate of 15 percent, with only 4 percent of all the tickets buyers snatching up six or more tickets.
George Lucas, the franchise’s creator, also saw the film. While his comments make it sound like it wasn’t what he would have done, Lucas still managed to be honest and agreed that it is a good film.
“I think the fans are going to love it,” he said. “It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]