Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashed all U.S. box office records and sailed to the biggest U.S. opening ever for a movie. J.J. Abrams, the film’s director, is no doubt delighted with his accomplishment, but the biggest box office opening ever is also an effort born of his Star Wars fanboy status.
According to Box Office Mojo, Star Wars: The Force Awakens enjoyed a box office take of $238 million as of Dec. 18, smashing the previous record set of just under $209 million by Jurassic World.CNN Money reports that in addition to nabbing the biggest U.S. opening ever, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has also taken the position of having the biggest Thursday night opening, biggest one day gross, biggest December debut, and biggest opening weekend of all time.
Since last Wednesday, the film has garnered a global box office take of $517 million, coming in second to Jurassic World on that count, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens has yet to bow in China, which is the second biggest film market worldwide. It makes its Chinese debut January 9.
For a self-professed fanboy like J.J. Abrams, news that his film has taken the position as the biggest U.S. film opening ever is undoubtedly incredible. While every director likely dreams of his or her film having such accolades, for Abrams, this would appear to be something of a dream come true. Abrams told Wired about his experience filming Star Wars that “(He) tried to not forget the mistakes (he)’d made, but (he) also tried to focus on things that (he finds) inspiring about cinema. (he) asked questions like ‘How do we make this movie delightful?’ That was really the only requirement (Lawrence Kasdan) and (he) imposed on each other: The movie needed to be delightful.”
Abrams made it clear during his Wired interview that he understood the gravity with which he was taking on the director’s mantle for The Force Awakens. “You’re inheriting Star Wars! That’s not something you can do lightly.”
Abrams is vacating the director’s chair for Episode VIII, for which the script has already been written. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, the woman with a mysterious past in The Force Awakens, has already seen the script for the next movie in the series and has given it her stamp of approval. It will be some time, of course, before fans see whether Episode VIII takes the mantle of having the biggest U.S. opening ever – it will be about two years before fans see what happen in the wake of The Force Awakens – but given the current success of The Force Awakens, there is a world of possibilities.
Episode VIII‘s script is “very good; very good,” Ridley told Variety, not wanting to reach too far into the future. “Let’s see ‘VII’ first and then we’ll talk about ‘VIII.'”
Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of theatrical distribution told the Associated Press that he was impressed with the biggest U.S. box office opening ever.
“It feels historic,” he said, according to Fortune. “It’s hard to think you could replicate this, but never say never.”
Rentrak box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said the biggest U.S. box office opening ever could translate to Star Wars making $2 billion before it leaves theaters, which does not look to be anytime soon. The biggest opening ever is also the result of factors such as Star Wars being shown on IMAX screens and in 3D. In fact, although Abrams shot the film with IMAX cameras, there were some suspicions that viewing the film on IMAX might not have been the preferred option for consumers, so there were not enough IMAX versions of the film struck. That said, the film also showed on 4,134 screens throughout the U.S., which helped bring Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the biggest U.S. box office opening ever.
[Feature image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images News]