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

PARIS– “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” powered up the biggest non-holiday opening ever in France, and the country’s second best opening of all times behind “Spectre.”

Sources are reporting that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has sold just under 500,000 admissions according to provisional figures for an estimated 3.5 million Euros ($3.8 million). Final first day figure, $5.2 million, is the biggest of any territory opening on Wednesday. Rentrak, one of the main sources of intel for box office reports, held off the release of official figures this morning — some exhibitors have not yet reported their theaters’ admissions.

“Spectre,” the opening day champion in France, had scored 850,297 admissions on its first day, November 11, which is a national holiday in Gaul. In dollar terms, however, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” looks like a winner, outpassing average ticket returns  in France, since the movie in showing mostly in 3D and some cinemas in France have boosted advance ticket prices way above the regular average of 7.5 Euros for 3D pics. The largest theater in Paris, the Rex, for instance, is selling 50 Euros ($54) tickets for VIP seats. Other theaters are hosting “Star Wars”-related activities in between screenings and are charging more for it.

Although “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was expected to earn more on its French roll-out, the movie still has great chances to be a record breaker in Gaul by the end of weekend, per Jocelyn Bouyssy, the boss of CGR, one of the country’s biggest multiplex chains. CGR sold 65,000 tickets across its 46 sites in France and usually represents 10% of the country’s market share.

“Many people decided to wait a bit to discover the film because theaters were full due to the advance tickets sales,” said Bouyssy.

Another key factor which will certainly fuel the B.O. of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in France is the Christmas holiday kicking off on Friday evening. “Typically, when a movie opens three days before the beginning of a school break, young folks and families hold off to watch it on the weekend or later during their vacation,” added the exhibitor.

Insiders predict “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” could score between 8 and 10 million admissions (60 million Euros-70.5 million Euros – $65 million-$77 million) in France. “Star Wars VI” sold about 7 million admissions.

John Hopewell contributed to this report.

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