The Force Is With Disney At the Box Office As Star Wars Smashes Records
Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ opening weekend has only just begun, but the JJ Abrams film is already breaking records.
Box office sales for Star Wars: The Force Awakens matinees today suggest the film is likely to bring in more than $100 million in a single day, Disney said, breaking the previous $91.1 million record set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in 2011.
The company said the film already brought in $57 million last night alone in the US and Canada.
Early estimates from the company also indicated that it had raked in $130 million worldwide since the film first hit some theaters on Wednesday internationally.
‘Literally Millions’ Left
As excited fans gathered at theaters around the country last night, investors and film analysts watched ticket sales to see whether The Force Awakens would beat box office expectations. Box Office Mojo predicted yesterday that the film could rake in $231 million in its opening weekend, but analysts there now say that number “may be in jeopardy of being too low.” Disney says the film appears to be on track for more than $200 million in ticket sales this weekend.
The film had already broken ticket pre-sales records, The Hollywood Reporter said, with more than $100 million worth of tickets sold ahead of The Force Awakens’ release.
“We are obviously very encouraged by the record-breaking pre-sales for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Dave Hollis, the executive vice president of distribution at Disney, said in a statement. But Disney isn’t sitting back smugly assuming everyone who wants a ticket will seek one out. The company seems set on assuring fans that there are enough tickets for everyone who wants to see the movie to do so. “There are literally millions of tickets available for this weekend, and exhibitors have a lot of flexibility in terms of capacity and increasing the number of shows based on demand.”
The latest Star Wars film may very well be the most anticipated film in the galaxy, and yet, for Disney, the stakes remain high. The Force Awakens’s opening weekend is only the first test to see whether the film will satisfy Disney investors and film buffs alike. In addition to box office sales, the Star Wars franchise is expected to bring in billions in merchandise and home entertainment.
Even the White House isn’t immune to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens bug. Two Stormtroopers and R2-D2 joined Press Secretary Josh Earnest at the end of a presidential press conference at the White House today.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 18, 2015
While the Star Wars characters’ appearance may have been unexpected, it wasn’t without reason. At the end of his press conference today, President Obama told reporters he had to run to catch the latest Star Wars film. The White House is hosting a screening of the film this afternoon for the families of those who have lost a loved one in military combat, according to Variety.
After the president left, Earnest returned with the Star Wars characters. According the The Hill, one reporter joked, “Now we know what side of the force you’re in, Josh.”
Boy, that transition from republic to empire happened fast. pic.twitter.com/GpWIZcotMR
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 18, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now in theaters, but people on Facebook have already been talking about the film for weeks.
“Even before it opened in theaters today, the new Star Wars was the most talked about movie of the year on Facebook,” Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a post. (Sandberg has also been a director on Disney’s board since 2010.)
Star Wars was an especially hot topic this month—53 million people taked about it in December alone, Sandberg said. More than 35,000 Star Wars events were planned on Facebook during the past few weeks, she said.
So may the Force be with all of you this opening weekend—and, for the rest of the 1 billion of you checking Facebook daily, what were you talking about?
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