Yesterday saw the release of an eagerly-awaited sequel to a film franchise beloved by millions of fans across the globe. No, that movie was not Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip.
After months and even years of hype, fans finally got a chance to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a movie some predicted would have the biggest global launch in film history. This morning, the analysts that made that prediction can pat themselves on the back as they sip coffee from their Star Wars-licensed mugs.
According to Deadline, The Force Awakens set "an opening day record of $125M-$127M+ en route for an all-time record opening of $251M-$255M, calculated from midnight tickets sales on both the east and west coast." To put that in perspective, the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie pulled in roughly $13M-$14M during the same time period, and it was the second highest grosser after The Force Awakens. Of course, studios weren't exactly eager to pit their own releases against a movie that has a chance of edging out Avatar's top spot as the highest grossing film of all time.
The previous record for single day, opening day sales on a Friday was held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at $91M, so even the most conservative estimates for Star Wars: The Force Awakens' opening day sales blow that out of the water. The next records to beat all come from Jurassic World, which set the record for Saturday sales, Sunday sales, and biggest overall opening for both foreign and domestic.
With as much hype as it got leading up to its release, it's little surprise that The Force Awakens has done as well as it has. Fans of the franchise were eager for a return to the level of quality that many agreed was almost entirely missing from the prequels, and so far reviewers have found a lot to like in director J.J. Abrams' take on the Star Wars universe. While we'll still have to wait to see if the movie steamrolls over Jurassic World for biggest all-time international box office opening, either way it is going to make Disney execs very happy.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.