The Force has awakened to slice through revenue records

Commercial mind control, or a beloved tradition?
Commercial mind control, or a beloved tradition?
Image: Reuters/Stephanie Keith
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This post has been updated at 3pm ET with the latest figures.

Disney was making a relatively safe bet when it bought Lucasfilm—and thus the rights to the Star Wars franchise—in 2012 for $4.1 billion. But few predicted that it would start paying off so quickly.

Fans are watching the new Star Wars film in hordes. On opening night (Dec. 18), The Force Awakens broke the record for the highest single-day ticket sales ever in the US ($120.5 million), UK, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and other countries. That day global sales reached more than $250 million, despite not opening in the world’s second-largest film market, China.

Its opening weekend sales in the US and Canada at $238 million are also a new record, leaving behind Jurassic World ($208.8 million) and The Avengers ($213.8, inflation-adjusted). Though global ticket sales for the opening weekend reached $517 million, they didn’t quite beat Jurassic World’s at $524.9 million.

Both moviegoers and critics believe that the film has lived up to the hype surrounding it. On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregation site, more than 95% gave positive ratings to the seventh episode of the saga.

The JJ Abrams film has a shot at breaking the record for the highest-grossing movie of all time, according to some analysts. That record is currently held by “Avatar” which generated sales of more than $2.8 billion.

None of these figures include Star Wars merchandise, which have begun to boost Disney’s profits even prior to opening night. In the long-term, merchandise sales are likely to generate much more revenue than ticket sales to watch the film.