New ‘Star Wars’ smashes box-office record


LOS ANGELES (AFP) – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” smashed the opening night record in the United States and Canada and was poised to become one of the biggest grossing movies ever, industry experts said Friday.

The latest instalment of the highly anticipated space epic raked in $57 million for its opening night Thursday, easily beating the previous record — $43.5 million — held by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” in 2011.

Disney gushed that combined with Friday figures, ticket sales “are pointing to a total day of $100M+ for a new industry record… and the first triple-digit-million day ever!”

The “Harry Potter” film holds the all-time record for opening day at $91 million but the new “Star Wars” — which has had rave reviews and even saw Stormtroopers “invade” the White House on Friday — is expected to also force it out of that slot.

“This represents a new record for the industry and portends a massive and potentially record-breaking opening day and weekend for the film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, of box office tracker Rentrak.

“The Force Awakens,” which has had its legions of fans frothing at the mouth ever since its mooted release, has grossed at least $130 million worldwide since it opened overseas on Wednesday, setting records in Britain, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Analysts predict that the seventh instalment of the iconic space saga, which cost Disney an estimated $200 million to produce, could score the biggest opening weekend ever and could even become the biggest film of all time.

“We appear to be headed for $200M+ through Sunday and the possibility of an all-time weekend record,” Disney said.

The opening weekend record is currently held by “Jurassic World,” which premiered earlier this year to $208.8 million at the box office.

As far as all-time box office sales, two films by James Cameron hold the record — “Avatar” ($2.78 billion) and “Titanic” ($2.18 billion).

“The potential for The Force Awakens to ultimately break into the $2 billion club worldwide is certainly in the realm of possibility,” Dergarabedian said.



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