Star Wars Trailer
Courtesy of Disney

The force is strong with the upcoming “Star Wars” sequel.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has established a new record, bypassing “The Hunger Games” to move the most tickets in its first day on sale, Fandango reports. It didn’t just surpass that picture, it shattered its benchmark, outselling “The Hunger Games” eight times over. Traffic to the online ticketer’s site surged to seven times more than its peak level in less than 24 hours.

“This is an extraordinary time for the industry, which experienced unprecedented ticketing demand last night for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,'” Fandango said in a statement. “The enthusiasm for this year’s most anticipated movie is out of this world and we expect it to continue all the way to its debut on Dec. 18.”

There are already sellouts, particularly in Imax screenings, and to meet the demand, movie theaters are continually adding show times, the online ticketer reports. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” presales also broke every Imax record, generating over $6.5 million. The film eclipsed “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Avengers,” which each earned around $1 million for their first reported presales.

MovieTickets.com did not release any data, but “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the top-selling film on its site. It represents 95% of sales over the past 24 hours. Interest in the film was so intense that both MovieTickets.com and Fandango reportedly crashed for some users.

The first full-length trailer for the film debuted on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. It appeared in conjunction with tickets going on sale. That footage has been viewed nearly 12 million times on the official “Star Wars” YouTube channel.

The film is intended to kick off another trilogy of pictures and brings back cast members from the first film, such as Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, along with new stars Adam Driver, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. J.J. Abrams directs the film. There are also planned spin-offs and origin stories expected to debut in the coming years, as Disney and Lucasfilm hope to embrace the Marvel model of building a cinematic universe.

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