“Stars Wars” continued its out-of-this world run at the box office on Monday, powering ahead to a record $40.1 million at the domestic box office.
The Monday haul crushed the old record of $27 million set by “Spider-Man 2” in 2004 and lifted the domestic total for Disney’s “The Force Awakens” to $288 million.
The J.J.-Abrams directed sci-fi adventure also took in another $41.7 million from overseas on Monday to lift its international gross to $322.7 million and its worldwide total to $610.8 million.
“Stars Wars” clearly got a big lift from kids on Monday — with more than 70 percent of students now off for the holidays.
Over the weekend, the space opera sequel shattered records with a $248 million domestic debut and a $529 million global launch. Its opening shot past the records set this summer by “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million domestic, $524.9 million worldwide).
The critics have loved it — it’s at 95 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes — and opening weekend audiences awarded it an “A” CinemaScore, so word of mouth will be exceptionally strong. Disney banked on strong play beyond the opening weekend, and part of its strategy was the December release. With both kids and adults off for the holidays, it is set up to play very strongly in its second week and beyond.
It’s likely now that “The Force Awakens” will challenge the all-time worldwide box office records held by “Avatar” ($2.78 billion) and “Titanic” ($2.18 billion). Both of those films launched in December, too, which typically doesn’t make for a huge opening, but does enable an extended play. With its record debut over the weekend, “The Force Awakens” could have both.