‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: Counting Down the Records It Broke

Star Wars Episode VII The Force
Courtesy of Disney/Lucas FIlm

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” torched record books this weekend as audiences flocked to see J.J. Abrams’ reverent take on the return of the Jedi.

The film, with a $200 million budget and millions more spent on marketing, represented a big gamble for the Walt Disney Company, which had already plunked down $4 billion for rights to the Skywalker clan. It’s a bet that appears to have paid off, establishing new benchmarks for the movie industry and setting the franchise up for future spinoffs, prequels and installments.

Here’s a look at some of the records “The Force Awakens” now owns.

-Biggest domestic debut with $238 million
(Previous record: “Jurassic World” with $208.8 million)

-Second-biggest global debut with $517 million
(Record holder: “Jurassic World” with $524.9 million)

-Biggest Thursday preview gross with $57 million
(Previous record holder: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” with $43.5 million)

-First film to post single-day gross over $100 million

-Fastest film to $100 million and $200 million
(Previous record holder: “Jurassic World” on both counts)

-Biggest December debut
(Previous record: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with $84.6 million)

-Highest per-theater average for a wide release with $57,568
(Previous record: “Jurassic World” with $48,855)

-Biggest opening weekend of all time in U.K., Russia, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Iceland, Serbia and New Zealand

-Biggest Imax debut with $48 million

-Most pre-sales with over $100 million
(Previous record: “The Dark Knight Rises” with $25 million)

-Best Friday gross with $120.5 million
(Previous record: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” with $91.1 million)

-Third best Saturday gross with $68.7 million
(Record holders: “Jurassic World” with $69.6 and “Marvel’s The Avengers” with $69.5 million)

-Best opening for a “Star Wars” film
(Previous record: “Revenge of the Sith” with $108.4 million)

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  1. RC says:

    All that without China (where Ep 7 will not debut until January 9th). For reference, Jurassic World had access to China’s 30k screens opening weekend.

  2. Brian Grana says:

    What went unsaid or unqualified with all of the records other than first place is this movie will not open in China for another month (for obvious reasons). Had it opened up in China the records would be so staggering as to near ridiculous levels.

  3. John says:

    A new Star Wars film a gamble? Only in the sense that every sure thing in the world has an element of uncertainty. Even paying $4+bn for the rights is in my eyes a bargain.

  4. SGTYork says:

    “The film, with a $200 million budget and millions more spent on marketing, represented a big gamble for the Walt Disney Company…”

    It really didn’t.

  5. Lewis says:

    Awesome movie.

  6. Great movie? Box office does not make one great.

  7. Enmukee says:

    Did you mean ‘J.J. Abrams’ ‘irreverent imitation of Return of the Jedi’?
    JJ Abrams is a hack without a speck of originality. The story is predictable and is borrowed unashamedly from the earlier movies, None of the characters have any depth or emotional connection, the technology of the real world is transformed from 1977 to 2015, yet the Star Wars movie world is stuck as it was in 1977, the Dark Side while imitating the Nazis continues to make ludicrously enormous weapons that can be destroyed by a bunch of fighters, the force is a joke to manipulate, even neophytes can use the force to command others which breaks the point of any Jedi training. In short, another franchise destroyed.
    My prediction : It is impossible for this piece of mediocrity to break Avatar’s record.

    • SGTYork says:

      Really? The prequels and special editions exist but NOW the franchise is destroyed? Really?

    • Der Stig says:

      Please link us to your films so we may judge them.

      JJ Killed it, honored the originals and expanded the universe all while making it totally accessible to the new fans.

    • dcbron says:

      What movie did you watch? The First Order borrow from Nazi Germany while the Empire is clearly Roman inspired in the original trilogy. The force isn’t a joke to manipulate, the force is alive in TFA — yes, that’s a change, but it’s an interesting one and a direction Lucas was steering towards in RotJ if you paid attention (and while many of us like dismiss the prequels, something Lucas was also steering towards in the prequels). The EU, while it was still cannon, also largely pushed in that direction and it’s the general direction the fandom has wanted the force to go in.

      Their giant base wasn’t destroyed by fighters, it was destroyed in a ground operation which had quite an exorbitant cost associated with it, which is something good writing dictates should have happened.

      I am sorry if you aren’t able to understand the lofty concepts TFA was offering compared to the original trilogy in having a morally conflicted villain and a de-politicized “bad guy” faction, but I don’t think it’s fair to call a movie “mediocre” because it was too complex for you to understand. Just admit it was too hard for you to understand and move on with your day.

      Also, I am curious as to what joy you have in your life if Poe, Rey, Finn, and ESPECIALLY BB-8 came across as “shallow” to you. Who else is shallow to you? What is not-shallow film or literature to you? I’m quaking with anticipation to know.

      • seandouglasmcardle says:

        No, the Empire is 100% inspired by Nazi Germany. From the designs of the Imperial uniforms, to the name Stormtroopers, theres Third Reich all over the Imperials.

        Theres a great book called Star Wars: The Magic of Myth that goes into great detail about how Lucas and the art department were influenced by Nazi design.

        But to be fair, Hitler was inspired by Roman design, so that might be your confusion.

  8. nickp91 says:

    Avatar has the box office record to date: $2.78 billion gross. Star Wars will beat it but that’s due to increased ticket prices and IMAX

  9. i just love how some of the records just dont get past the old records.. judst very annoying.. whatever keeep breaking records.. still very underwhelming how those other 2 records could not be broen because they r so close… anyhoos

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