Film

Star Wars The Force Awakens sets record IMAX opening with $48M

The recent release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has been a hit with almost the entire planet, whether you make bedsheets, are a fan of the series, own a movie-theater, or own a stake in Disney itself.

One of the major benefactors of the film’s release has been the IMAX Corporation, which today announced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released by The Walt Disney Studios, scored a record-setting opening weekend in IMAX theatres with $48 million worldwide on 677 screens (excluding China).

That makes Star Wars: The Force Awakens the company’s best-ever weekend at the global box office, beating Jurassic World’s $44.1 million worldwide opening (which even included China). The previous worldwide box-office record holder in IMAX – without China – was Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which earned $25.2 million during its opening weekend globally. Star Wars: The Force Awakens also set various other IMAX records including for both domestic and international openings.

Domestically, Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed a benchmark $30 million on 391 IMAX screens, of which 359 were record-breaking. The film trounced the previous North American IMAX opening weekend record of $20.9 million (Jurassic World) by roughly 50 percent.

International IMAX results for Star Wars: The Force Awakens reached a record $18 million on 276 IMAX screens – without the benefit of China – more than doubling the previous-best non-China day-and-date release of $8 million (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2). Markets that saw record-setting openings include: U.K., France, Germany, Russia, Japan, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

The IMAX network was at capacity with sell-out screenings all weekend as the film earned the highest single-day box-office gross for IMAX worldwide on Friday with $17.7 million. The previous best was Jurassic World with $13 million.

“Star Wars has become a global cultural phenomenon, and IMAX has benefitted, with new IMAX records set across our entire worldwide network and China still to come. We only wish we had more seats to meet the demand,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “Congratulations to Disney and Lucasfilm – we’re extremely proud of the collaboration between our companies, which has resulted not only in this record-setting worldwide opening for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but also in setting the stage for the franchise for years to come. With IMAX effectively playing two Star Wars films per year over the next several years, we believe it will add even greater visibility to our business.”

“With numbers like this, it’s clear that even casual viewers sought out a premium theatrical experience to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and in a weekend of incredible performances across the board, the folks at IMAX pulled out all the stops for a tremendous, record-setting debut for the format that has gone beyond anything we could’ve hoped,” said Dave Hollis, Executive Vice President, Theatrical Distribution, The Walt Disney Studios.

“We always believed the worldwide opening for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was going to be strong, but these results have exceeded our expectations,” said Greg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. “We extend a big congratulations to our friends and long-time partners J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Bryan Burk and all of our friends at Disney and Lucasfilm for this phenomenal achievement. The synergy created by fans of the Star Wars franchise, The IMAX Experience®, and the support of our filmmaker, studio and exhibitor partners has manifested itself in a truly phenomenal way – creating a new cinema paradigm. With stellar reviews, incredibly strong word-of-mouth, and an open runway for many weeks in IMAX, we look forward to the film’s continued global success – especially as it broadens to China on Jan. 9 – and elsewhere across our network well into February.”

The IMAX 3D release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was shown in its digitally re-mastered format, which includes the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology.