“The Force Awakens” didn’t even need China to have the biggest box-office debut of all time

Marching into the record books.
Marching into the record books.
Image: AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying
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The Star Wars franchise triumphantly returned to the silver screen this week, raking in over $238 million in the opening weekend in the US alone. And now it looks like The Force Awakens might have destroyed the global box office opening-weekend record more easily than the Rebel Alliance blew up the second Death Star.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, estimates for the new Star Wars film put the global first-weekend take at roughly $529 million.

The previous record holder, Jurassic World—which was released last summer—took in $524 million on its opening weekend. But unlike the dinosaur theme-park reboot, Disney’s new film didn’t have the boost of opening in the two most populous, film-loving countries in the world. In China, the Force is awakening on Jan. 9, and India, which had its own film revival this past weekend, the film will open Dec. 25.

Director J.J. Abrams produced a film worthy of the original trilogy created by George Lucas, and it’s been widely regarded as the best Star Wars movie produced since 1983. On Rotten Tomatoes, 92% of moviegoers so far have said that they liked the film, and 94% of critics agreed.

The film still has a way to go if it’s going to reach the heights of the top-grossing films of all time. James Cameron has a two-handed grip on the top spots, having directed both Titanic and Avatar, which brought in $2.1 billion and $2.7 billion, respectively. Even with the critical and fan acclaim, it’s still unclear whether The Force Awakens will follow similar trajectories as Cameron’s blockbuster films; Disney’s stock price actually fell over 1% yesterday (Dec. 21).

While the film’s gross may still be relatively minute, it still has the entire holiday season, and China’s launch, to expand across the moviegoing universe in imperial fashion. According to film data tracking company Box Office Mojo, The Force Awakens, is already the 136th highest-grossing worldwide film ever. And with film sales, merchandise tie-ins, and unending waves of Star Wars toys to look forward to, this may well turn out to be a fully-armed and operational entertainment station.