"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has already surpassed $100 million in North America and $250 million globally, setting it up for a record-breaking weekend.
The Walt Disney Co. on Saturday said the film made an estimated $120.5 million from Thursday night previews and opening day Friday. That smashes the previous opening day record of $91.1 million, set by 2011's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2." (Studios count Thursday night grosses as part of opening day.)
Disney is projecting a domestic weekend total of around $220 million, which would surpass the record $208.8 million of "Jurassic World." It's a type of release never before seen in December, where the previous top opening was 2012's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" with $84.6 million. The latest "Star Wars" is playing in 4,134 North American theaters, the widest December release ever.
But "The Force Awakens" is riding a wave of hype, nostalgia and positive reviews from critics and fans alike. J.J. Abrams' seventh chapter in George Lucas' saga has earned an A CinemaScore from moviegoers who have flooded theaters nationwide. Some $100 million in advance tickets were sold for the movie's Thursday night debut.
Seemingly everyone has caught "The Force" fever. President Barack Obama began a year-end news conference Friday noting, "Clearly, this is not the most important event that's taking place in the White House today." Soon to begin was a screening of the film for families who have lost a relative to combat or service-related injuries.
After fielding questions, Obama concluded the press conference: "OK everybody, I got to get to 'Star Wars.'"
Since beginning its overseas rollout Wednesday, "The Force Awakens" has made an estimated $129.5 million internationally.
"Jurassic World," an unexpected sensation in June, also holds the global weekend opening record with $524.9 million, a number "The Force Awakens" could well exceed.