Star Wars: The Force Awakens just shattered the U.S. opening weekend record with a whopping $238 million in ticket sales. It came up just shy of Jurassic World‘s $524 million worldwide debut record, pulling in $517 million globally so far, with China coming early next month.
Before we get into a nitty-gritty dissection, we must offer a round of applause for Walt Disney DIS -4.67%, Lucasfilm and everybody involved with this mammoth debut. Yes, much of this weekend was driven by brand loyalty and nostalgia, nostalgia for a property that Disney merely acquired and continued, but they pulled this off with a pitch-perfect marketing campaign. It was mostly spoiler-free, comparatively sparse in quantity, and noteworthy in quality with brilliant pieces of marketing materials (that last trailer… wow) which stand alone as pieces of art. And while I may be the grouchy old man shouting at the wind in terms of the film itself, a lot of moviegoers are very happy this weekend.
Now let’s pick apart this $238 million debut weekend, shall we?
In addition to taking the domestic opening weekend record, the film broke the Thursday preview record ($57 million) and on Friday the single-day record ($120.5m). Star Wars‘s Saturday and Sunday grosses of $68.7m and $48.8m were the third biggest Saturday and the fourth biggest Sunday respectively. In fact, for what it’s worth, the driving force of this record-breaking weekend was, like Deathly Hallows part 2, that Thursday/Friday gross.
NowThe Dark Knight also bested Spider-Man 3‘s opening weekend ($158m vs. $151m) despite not setting a record for Saturday and ended up making a lot more overall than Spider-Man 3 ($533m vs. $336m), but it’s trivia nonetheless. And, mea culpa, when I discussed the whole “pure Friday” thing yesterday, I was mistaken. I was going off of the Jurassic World Friday gross that wasreported that Saturday, which was a little higher than the now “final” $81.9m Friday gross. Point being, Star Wars: The Force Awakens really did snag the biggest “pure Friday” gross by $100k, with a “no Thursday money” total of $63.5m versus Jurassic World‘s $63.4m.
The film’s audience was 58% male, 71% adults, 20% families, and 9% teens. Breaking it down by age, it played 8% 12 & under, 9% 13-16, 20% 17-25, 26% 26-34, 24% 35-49, and 13% 50 and over. It played 53% 2D and 47% 3D. It played 28% straight 3D, 12% IMAX, and 7% PLF. It earned $30m in IMAX domestically, which is a new record (as was the film’s $14m IMAX Friday). It opened in 8% of the marketplace and earned $279m overseas in the first five days, including $48m in IMAX worldwide. Yes, it fell a few bucks short of the Jurassic World worldwide debut record, but don’t be too surprised if Disney finds $7 million worth of Space Bucks tucked inside its couch by tomorrow.
TheDaisy Ridley/John Boyega/Harrison Ford/Adam Driver/Oscar Isaac adventure kick-started its weekend with a whopping $57 million in Thursday previews, a number that made up 47% of its opening day total and 23.9% of its opening weekend total. That’s awfully close to theHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 pattern. And moreover, with movies earning this kind of money before the start of the traditional weekend, it may be time to have a conversation about whether to still include the Thursday number into the Friday gross. It was one thing when you had Mission: Impossible or Jurassic Park getting an extra $3m or so before the start of the weekend, but we’ve now had countless instances with big openers pulling in over 20% of their opening weekend on Thursday. Anyway, the film demolished Harry Potter 7.2‘s record of $43.5m at midnight and $91m on Friday and said $91m single-day record.