"Star Wars" fever has spread through movie theaters around the globe as the franchise yet again began toppling box-office records with waves of lightsaber-wielding fans.
Following a record $57 million from Thursday night showings in North America, and packed matinees on Friday, the Walt Disney Co. projected that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" surpassed $215 million on the weekend, besting the record domestic opening of "Jurassic World," which debuted with $208.8 million in June. Worldwide ticket sales were $250 million through Friday.
Such an outcome surprised few analysts, but the numbers were nevertheless eye-popping. "The Force Awakens" was heading toward a Thursday night-Friday total of more than $120 million domestically, said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. The previous one-day high was $91.1 million set by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" in 2011.
In such rarefied territory, Disney has been cautious about overestimating the box-office force of J.J. Abrams' seventh chapter in George Lucas' space saga. Based on the early response, many analysts have the film pegged for a weekend total closer to $250 million — far above "Jurassic World."
More than $100 million advance tickets (also a record) were sold ahead of the opening.
The international rollout for the film, made for $200 million, has already brought in $72.7 million.