‘Star Wars’ Record-Breaking Overseas Debuts Build Momentum For U.S. Opening

“The Force Awakens” takes in $14.2 million and is No. 1 in 12 foreign markets

Last Updated: December 17, 2015 @ 11:42 AM

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiered to $14.2 million in 12 overseas markets Wednesday, was No. 1 in all of them and broke a handful of records in the process, providing a momentum boost to Thursday’s debut at the U.S. box office.

The foreign rollout began one day before Thursday’s 7 p.m. previews in North America, which comes ahead of Friday’s opening in 4,134 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. “The Force Awakens” is expected to challenge the record for the biggest opening weekend of all-time, set earlier this year by “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million.

Early analysts’ projections for its U.S. debut had it coming in north of $200 million, but as the opening nears, positive reviews roll in and reports of sellouts mount, the momentum is moving that number up. On Thursday morning, online ticket broker Fandango said that “The Force Awakens” has broken its record for tickets sold by any film during an entire run — before it has even opened.

“‘The Force Awakens’ is a genuine cultural phenomenon,” said Fandango President Paul Yanover. “The extraordinary ticketing demand is truly unprecedented. It is Fandango’s top-selling movie of all time, even before it has even hit theater screens.”

The $5.2 million it took in France was the biggest Disney opening day of all-time, as were the debuts in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and Switzerland.

The total for the first day in France was more than double that of “Avengers” and almost double the opening day of “Jurassic World.”

It’s clear IMAX, Premium Large Format and 3D are going to help “The Force Awakens.” The foreign results included several new highs for IMAX and 3D screens accounted for roughly 68 percent of the grosses in France.

In every territory, the debut was the biggest in the history of the “Star Wars” franchise.

On Thursday, the J.J. Abrams-directed sci fi adventure opens in the U.K., Germany, Korea, Mexico, Australia, Russia and Brazil, as well as Argentina, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Austria, New Zealand.

By Friday it will be open in every major market in the world, with the exception of China, where it will open on January 9.