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LONDON — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” scored the biggest opening-day gross ever in the U.K. and Ireland on Thursday. J.J. Abrams’ blockbuster grossed £9.6 million ($14.3 million) on its first day in the two countries, which is the biggest single-day gross in their industries’ history.

The movie opened in the U.K. and Ireland at midnight on Wednesday. Midnight screenings alone accounted for £2.4 million ($3.58 million) of the day’s box office, smashing all previous records.

Tickets for the film went on sale in October and more than 200,000 tickets were sold in 24 hours. Two million tickets were sold ahead of the release — breaking the record for advanced ticket bookings.

The movie has strong connections with the U.K. film business. The production was based at Pinewood Studios, which is just to the west of London, and two of the young stars are British, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Other British cast include Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis, while another cast member, Domhnall Gleeson, is Irish. Skellig Michael, an island off Ireland’s South-West coast, was one of the film’s locations.