The seventh episode in the Star Wars saga annihilated the record for largest gross in a single day domestically.
On its opening day, Friday December 18, Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed an estimated $120.5 million domestically, which blows the opening day of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($91 million) out of the water. The rest of the top five single day grosses are made up of Avengers: Age of Ultron ($84.4 million), Jurassic World ($81.9 million), and the first Avengers ($80.8 million) – those grosses were also made on their respective Friday opening days.
The Force Awakens’ Friday gross includes the money made from Thursday evening screenings – which started at 7 p.m., with some theaters continuing showings into the wee hours of Friday morning (a theater near me in Connecticut had screenings starting after 2 a.m.). Force Awakens stole that record from Deathly Hallows – Part 2 as well. Force Awakens made $57 million from its Thursday evening showings, topping the Potter finale’s $43.5 million record-breaking pre-opening day grosses.
It’s worth mentioning that 7 p.m. Thursday evening screenings weren’t around in 2011 when Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was released, so that film’s $43.5 million was entirely made from 12:01 a.m. Friday morning screenings, and any other screenings that could have been held that night.
Disney is expecting a $220 million Fri-Sun opening weekend for Force Awakens, which would steal the opening weekend record from Jurassic World ($208.8 million). Force Awakens already set the record for the largest December opening weekend. The first Hobbit film set the record in 2012 with an $84.6 million opening, which Force Awakens beat in one day. Even adjusting for inflation, Force Awakens still beats Return of the King’s $100.4 million adjusted weekend gross.
Estimated numbers for the weekend arrive Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, read our spoiler-free review of the film where we said, “[screenwriters] Abrams and Kasdan struck that ‘thrill for adventure’ chord that made us so attached to Luke Skywalker and his original journey to reach the stars.”