People like myself flocked to the cinema to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the opening day. In the UK and Ireland fans spent almost £10m on the first day of release. This is a new opening day box office record. The actual total of £9.64m beat the previous best of £9.48m, set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011. The midnight screenings of Star Wars accounted for £2.4m of ticket sales.
There are a number of factors to consider when analysing these numbers. Some chains like Odeon have imposed a ticket surcharge of up to £2. Spectre currently holds the record for biggest ever opening at £41.3m but this was calculated over seven days as it opened on a Monday. To beat this Star Wars will have to do some galactic numbers over 4 days as it only opened on Thursday. However according to Screen International beating Spectre remains a distinct possibility.
Star Wars could also beat another James Bond record as Skyfall is currently the highest ever grossing film at the UK and Ireland box office with a total of £103m. Star Wars also broke the record of advance bookings in the UK and Ireland with two million advance bookings. The opening day screenings in the US and Canada on are estimated to have made up to $55m (£37m).
J.J. Abrams’ rejuvenation of a much loved property under new management is a great ride and will attract many people to repeat viewings. I have just booked some tickets to see it again after an opening day screening; I cannot wait!