Star Wars: The Force Awakens Shatters Box Office Records With $238 Million U.S. Opening

First of all, no spoilers here -- feel free to continue reading. And secondly anxious fans new and old lined up in record number over the weekend to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first in a new trilogy set decades after the events of Return of the Jedi. It's also the first Star Wars film to be distributed by owner Disney, though that's not the only reason this weekend was a historical event.

The Force Awakens raked in an estimated $238 million in the U.S. during its first three days on the big screen, including $57 million in Thursday night preview viewings. Combined with another $279 million from international ticket sales, The Force Awakens debuted to $517 million over the weekend, more than double the previous record of $208.8 million set by Jurassic World earlier in the year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Han Solo and Chewbacca

That's not the only record the new Star Wars flick broke. It also set simultaneous records for the biggest Friday, opening day, and single day box office revenue by with $120.5 million in first day ticket sales.The previous opening day record for December was $84.62 million set by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Disney has to be pleased with the fan reception after gambling $4.05 billion on the franchise, which is the amount it paid George Lucas in cash and stock back in 2012 for Lucasfilm Ltd. and the rights to Star Wars.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Crash

Reviews of The Force Awakens have been overwhelmingly positive. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, a site that aggregates reviews from around the web, the new Star Wars movie holds a 95 percent approval rating among professional critics and is sitting handsomely at 92 percent among the general public.

Disney and director J.J. Abrams have successfully reinvigorated the franchise, but whether or not The Force Awakens is able to sink Titanic (No. 2) and leapfrog Avatar (No. 1)  as the highest grossing film of all time remains to be seen.

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