Riding galaxy-sized expectations, the new “Star Wars” movie is already setting records for pre-opening ticket sales, with a month to go. Does that mean the movie’s destined to be the biggest of all time?
The movie is on track to have the biggest December opening ever, topping “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which took in $85 million in the U.S. and Canada on its opening weekend in 2012.
Ticket seller Fandango says advance ticket sales for “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” have topped every other movie. Imax says it has sold $18 million domestically, double the previous record.
Whether it bests the biggest grosser of all time — “Avatar,” with $2.8 billion worldwide — depends on word of mouth and whether fans love it enough to watch it multiple times through the new year.
“Star Wars” opens Dec. 18 and will have weak competition for months. Marvel’s “Deadpool” doesn’t come out until February, while Warner Bros.’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” isn’t out until March.
“I think it’s going to own January,” said Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango, an online ticket retailer. “I know one guy who has nine tickets to see it in the first week alone. That’s what we’re talking about.”
Social media activity is also off the charts. “The Force Awakens” has had 405 million trailer and teaser views on Facebook and YouTube. The 178,000 weekly searches for the movie on Google are more than triple those for “Jurassic World.”