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The predictions were that The Force Awakens was going to be a huge box office draw. Not only is the movie setting records, but it’s doing it at a record pace as well. Not only has the movie broken the $1 billion mark (something that only two dozen movies have ever done), but it’s done so in only 12 days. It’s a full one day faster than it took Jurassic World to do the job. What makes this record even more impressive, is that it reached the number without the box office powerhouse of China being involved at all.
The reason for this unparalleled success is two-fold. One is that, obviously, lots of people are seeing this movie. More specifically, lots of people who aren’t part of the normal movie audience are being drawn to the theater, as if by an invisible Force. Secondly, many of those people are seeing this movie many, many times. Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution, says that some reports are that the most dedicated are spending the equivalent of a full work day watching the movie.
The speed with which records are falling is a testament to the audience broadening out. And you're seeing extraordinary repeat business. We know anecdotally there are people who are seeing the movie three and four times. Everybody wants to be part of something that has become a cultural phenomenon.
We know of at least one guy who has seen the movie nine times, but he’s a special case. As of this writing, the film sits about $100 million short of Jurassic World’s domestic total as the top movie of 2015. Can it reach that summit before the year runs out? According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Force Awakens becoming the top domestic movie of all time, surpassing Avatar’s $760 million, is all but guaranteed at this point. Some are even claiming the movie might surpass the $1 billion mark in North America alone.
For analysts who track the box office, most eyes are now looking toward China. The movie business there has only been growing. The Force Awakens is set for a January 9 release there, as most of December has been set as a blackout period, meaning foreign movies are prevented from hitting theaters so that domestic movies have a stronger chance. Jurassic World did $228 million of its total business there. While Star Wars is not the cultural touchstone there that it is in much of the rest of the world, expectations are still that The Force Awakens will surpass that number as well.
How many times have you seen The Force Awakens? How many times are you planning to?