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Who’s Driving ‘Star Wars’ Box Office Records? Repeat Viewers

A whopping 61 percent of the third-week audience had seen ”The Force Awakens“ before, and 23 percent had seen it twice or more

“Stars Wars: The Force Awakens” has put up its record-breaking box office numbers with a huge boost from repeat business.

An eye-popping 61 percent of third-weekend audiences had seen the blockbuster at least once before, and 23 percent had seen it two or more times, according to exit polling conducted by Disney over the weekend of Jan. 1-3.

“You don’t hit a billion in 12 days globally without the repeat viewing factor… and without a great movie,” Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told TheWrap. “No matter how great the hype, no one will pay to see a movie again and again if its not.”

The J.J. Abrams-directed film last week became the highest-grossing film ever at the U.S. box office. After taking in $3.8 million Tuesday, “The Force Awakens” is up to $819 million in total grosses domestically.

With another $946 million from international, its worldwide haul is up to $1.76 billion.

“The Force Awakens” stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in the key roles as Rey and Finn along with original “Star Wars” stars Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as General Leia. “The Force Awakens” is set 30 years after the events of 1983’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”

The production budget on “The Force Awakens” from Abrams’ Bad Robot and Lucasfilm, was $200 million. Bryan Burk and Kathleen Kennedy produced along with Abrams, who shared screenwriting duties with Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan.