Star Wars: The Force Awakens On Pace to Crush Harry Potter Preview-Night Record

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(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Because $100 million in advance ticket sales, the most tickets ever sold on Fandango, and #1 in 12 foreign territories wasn't enough, it looks like Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to take another record, using a well-aimed torpedo to blow Hogwarts to smithereens. The four-and-a-half year record for a preview night opening, held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at $43.5 million, underestimated the power of the dark side, and preliminary estimates say it should be well beat; it's now just a matter of by how much.

Thursday night took in between $50-55 million in the U.S. for the new Star Wars, a most impressive number no matter which end of the range it falls upon. After 7pm, it was harder to find a theater not showing the film than showing it. Many theater locations had it playing on literally every screen, or all but one, for the late night showings. Some even went straight on through the morning, boding well for the Friday numbers.

Possibly better news for the film, and for Disney/Lucasfilm, is the way audiences are responding, with a whopping 94% of audiences rating the film either excellent or very good, and the majority saying they'd see it again.

The next records it's looking to catch, then, are single day/opening day (Thursday night and Friday added as one total), also belonging to Deathly Hallows Part 2 at $91 million. The Hobbit's December opening record of $84.6 million is a foregone conclusion, naturally, and it's looking like Catching Fire's holiday opening record of $158 million will be nothing compared to the power of Star Wars. The big ones all belong to 2015's own Jurassic World, with $208.8 million domestic, $316.1m foreign, and a $525m worldwide total opening weekend, all of which are catchable numbers for The Force Awakens.

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Stay tuned as the official numbers start to role in later today.