Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be fastest to pass US$1 billion in sales

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was poised to pass US$1 billion in worldwide ticket sales and become the first picture to reach that mark so quickly.

The film, which officially opened in US cinemas on December 18 and in some international markets on December 16, has generated box-office revenue of $890.3 million worldwide through Christmas Day, California’s Walt Disney said at the weekend.

Prior to The Force Awakens, the fastest a movie crossed the $1bn threshold was Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World in 13 days this past June. The new Star Wars has already topped Jurassic World for largest opening weekend this month and looked certain to clear $1bn by the end of Sunday, according to Rentrak, an industry researcher, when studios will provide Saturday and Sunday sales figures.

On Friday, Star Wars set a Christmas Day record in US and Canadian cinemas, with ticket sales of $49.3m. Its worldwide total to Saturday included $440.4m domestically and $449.9m internationally.

Disney, which acquired Star Wars creator Lucasfilm for $4bn in 2012, plans to make as many as five more movies in the series. The property has already given a boost to Disney’s consumer products, TV and theme-park divisions.

“Our sole focus has been creating a film that delivers that one-of-a-kind Star Wars experience, and the director J J Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the Lucasfilm team have outdone themselves,” said the Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.

The highly antiche ipated seventh instalment of the space saga has blazed a record-setting trail since its domestic debut, taking the prize for highest-grossing domestic opening night with $57m and the biggest domestic single-day sales on Friday December 18 with $120.5m.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, previously held both records at $43.5m for an opening night and $91m for a first day.

As far as all-time box office sales, two films by James Cameron hold the record – Avatar at $2.78bn and Titanic at $2.18bn, and it is expected that The Force Awakens might unseat both.

Disney said the galactic success of the movie has already enabled the company to cross the $5bn mark in global box office receipts in a calendar year for the first time ever, surpassing the previous record of $4.73bn set in 2013.

The success of The Force Awakens, Disney’s first Star Wars picture since the acquisition, lays the groundwork for the company’s efforts with the franchise for years to come, according to the chairman and chief executive Bob Iger.

“It’s bigger than big,” Mr Iger said.

“It’s bigger than we thought it would be.”

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