(UPDATED Monday December 21st, 2015)
With the start of a new trilogy, the 7th installment of the Star Wars saga also completes another trilogy – of box office records.
According to final official Monday receipts, Star Wars: The Force Awakens overwhelmed the multiplex galaxy with $248 million over its first three days, hauling in the biggest opening weekend domestic gross of all time. That’s $10 million more than Sunday’s projection of $238 million.
Those Starkiller-sized numbers shatter the mark set just six months ago by Jurassic World when that dino reboot exceeded all estimates with over $208 million for its 3-day debut. And by piling up $529 million across the globe ($12 million more than Sunday’s conservative estimates), The Force Awakens now tops Jurassic World‘s worldwide record opener of $524.9 million. Episode VII took the planetary crown without the help of China (it doesn’t open there until January 9). The People’s Republic pitched in $90 million to Jurassic World‘s worldwide debut – nearly a fifth of its global receipts.
To help put director J.J. Abrams‘ and Lucasfilm’s achievement into even more perspective, December releases never quite match those of summer blockbusters. The month’s previous best opening was $84.6 million set by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The Force Awakens nearly tripled that.
This new watershed completes the trifecta of records that Episode VII had begun to tally, first with its new Thursday night benchmark of $57 million (beating 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 gross of $43.5 million) followed by a new opening day record of $120.5 million.
That second record annihilated the single-day take of $91 million by the monumental margin of $47 million (also previously held by HPDH:Part 2), which had stood for four years through numerous Marvel behemoths. That $120.5 million Friday also distinguishes Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the first movie ever to make over $100 million in a single day.
The two other big numbers that The Force Awakens has in its sights:
- Best All-Time Domestic Gross, Avatar‘s $760.5 million
- Best All-Time Worldwide Gross, Avatar‘s $2.7 billion
Time will only tell if those can be eclipsed, and in the meantime other marks will also be tracked – including best opening week, best 10-day take, etc. – but those two held by Avatar at the very top are the biggest prizes of all. It’ll be fun to track what The Force Awakens eventual box office destiny will be.
At the very least, these look to be a records that will stand for quite some time. Even upcoming Star Wars movies – including Star Wars: Rogue One (the franchise’s first stand alone feature, opening a year from now) and Episode VIII (which opens in 18 months, May 2017) – will be hard pressed to reach these heights.
This will be a weekend long remembered. It has seen the end of prequel discontent; it will soon see the end of who knows how many more box office records. Star Wars is more than just a movie event; it’s a shared cultural touchstone, truly unlike anything else (movies or otherwise).
Its Force looks to be with us, always.