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Star Wars: The Force Awakens is pretty much destined to be one of, if not the highest grossing film of 2015. While it hasn't opened just yet, we've already got some figures on where the film will be heading for on its opening weekend, as $50 million in ticket sales have been reported in pre-sales alone.
Initial reports are stating that since advance ticket sales opened up about a month ago, $50 million has gone into the bankroll of J.J. Abrams' franchise reviving entry – which, by the numbers, is twice as much as The Hunger Games generated in advanced sales in 2011. This is all impressive, but if the potentially biggest film of the year wants to get off on the right foot, it'll need to rack up $208 million in order to have the biggest opening weekend of the year. You can thank Jurassic World for setting the bar that high, as that was the opening total it set this past summer.
Collider also mentioned in their item that most of these pre-sales are built on the back of IMAX sales, as large format screens make up a majority of the sold-out showings for the first weekend. The bad news is that those sales were probably from fans who were hoping to get the full 70mm experience as J.J. Abrams intended while filming select scenes in the IMAX format - which will be only be available in certain locations. The good news is that there are still showings in other formats still available, which will obviously yield even more ticket sales for that first weekend, as people who need a little more time to plan find themselves in the position to lock themselves in.
Taking a look at the opening weekends of the previous six Star Wars films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens easily beats the openings for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, even when adjusted for inflation. That winning streak ends when you hit Return Of The Jedi though, when the adjusted total of its 1983's opening grosses convert to about $55 million in today's market. The honors of the franchise's highest opening weekend go to Revenge Of The Sith, which brought in $132 million, after adding ten years of inflation. While $208 million is the figure to beat for the record, $132 million should be the first, and probably easiest, hurdle for the seventh film to clear.
In the coming weeks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens mania will hit fever pitch, exciting fans looking to venture to a galaxy far, far away to a fervor they probably haven't felt since Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace opened in 1999. With three prequels of varying degrees of dissatisfaction still lingering in the fandom's subconscious, the opening weekend grosses will be the first indicator to whether or not the series can maintain its reputation as a sure thing in Hollywood. No matter how you slice it, $208 million is probably going to become the new mantra in the halls of Disney, Lucasfilm Ltd, and Bad Robot for the weeks until opening.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens cashes in on the hopes and dreams of fans worldwide on December 18th.