“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” blasted off to $14.1 million at the international box office on Wednesday, setting the stage for one of the biggest openings in movie history.
Expectations are huge for the film, which Disney hopes will kick off a new series of sequels, prequels and spinoffs. The company spent more than $4 billion in 2012 to acquire LucasFilm, primarily for rights to the “Star Wars” universe. Industry analysts and rival studios believe that “The Force Awakens” could trump “Jurassic World’s” record $524.9 million global opening, and predict the film will be among the highest-grossing of all time.
So far, “The Force Awakens” shows signs of being able to realize those out-sized ambitions. It scored the biggest opening day ever in Belgium, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Across all of the markets that it debuted, it represents the best ever launch for a “Star Wars” film.
The film is doing well in premium formats. Several markets are expected to be record openings for Imax and 3D showings made up 72% of opening day ticket sales in France.
The pic will debut in most major foreign markets over the weekend — the notable exceptions being China, India and Greece. On Thursday, it will open in 32 additional markets, including Germany, Russia, Australia, Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
J.J. Abrams directed “The Force Awakens.” The film brings back original cast members, such as Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and pairs them with series newcomers such as Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver. Reviews have been enthusiastic, with critics praising Abrams for capturing the first films’ sense of adventure.
Disney is sparing no expense. The studio spent $200 million producing the movie and more than $100 million marketing it.