‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Has Biggest Opening In U.S. Box Office History

In the U.S. and Canada, Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens has shattered box office history with the biggest opening ever, bringing in a record-breaking $238 million in ticket sales this weekend and topping $517 million worldwide, reported Forbes.

“We must offer a round of applause for Walt Disney, Lucasfilm and everybody involved with this mammoth debut. It was mostly spoiler-free and noteworthy in quality with brilliant pieces of marketing materials which stand alone as pieces of art.”

Despite the fact that the latest installment in the epic Star Wars franchise had the biggest opening ever, the global number is just shy of Jurassic World, which pulled in a whopping $524 million worldwide during its debut weekend last May. Still, it’s important to note that the current numbers come before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in China early next month on January 9.

According to the LA Times, with the exception of Jurassic World, the closest thing the movie industry has seen to an opening weekend like Star Wars experienced happened in 2012 with the premiere of Marvel’s The Avengers, which brought in $207.4 million.

“The seventh installment of the George Lucas-created franchise now holds the record for the largest opening weekend of a film ever.”

Prior to the film’s opening weekend, audience tracking experts were predicting an opening weekend of $180 to $220 million for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The film is reportedly playing in more than 4,000 theaters domestically and began its massive weekend run with a record-breaking $57 million in ticket sales for early showings Thursday night.

The previous box office record of $43.5 million in early ticket sales was set back in July of 2011 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, reported the LA Times. For the newest installment of the blockbuster Star Wars franchise, however, the official first-day total Friday was also noteworthy, rising upwards of $120.5 million.

“This gave the J.J. Abrams-directed picture the highest single-day profits on record and it became the first film to break the $100-million mark in a single day.”

The fact that the film opened in December is another major factor that makes it quite impressive that Star Wars: The Force Awakens logged the biggest opening ever. By comparison, the previous December record holder was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012, which took in just $85 million in domestic sales.

So, how are audiences reacting to the latest Star Wars film so far? According to early polling from CinemaScore, the movie is getting an “A Grade” among general audience members and an “A-plus Grade” among women and children. Critic site Rotten Tomatoes also gave The Force Awakens a positive rating of 95 percent.

A number of records were also set for advance ticket sales that led to the biggest opening ever for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie reportedly raked in more than $100 million in pre-sales before its early Thursday night opening, and when the final theatrical trailer was played during Monday night football on ESPN, it was subsequently viewed more than 128 million times over a 24-hour period.

According to the LA Times, Disney’s sustained marketing campaign tapped into public nostalgia for the original trilogy and got audiences talking about the movie via social media. For example, on Twitter alone Star Wars: The Force Awakens was mentioned more than two million times on Thursday, which also happened to make it the most-tweeted-about movie ever, according to social media analytics firm Union Metrics.

“The industry also awaits to see if Star Wars force can help push U.S.-Canada ticket sales to a record $11 billion.”

[Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]