HOLLYWOOD, CA – How much do moviegoers love “Star Wars”?
A crowd watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at a theater in Hollywood collectively pitched a fit Friday night when the projector stopped, then restarted 15 or 20 minutes ahead in the action, said Erik Melendez, who spoke to CNN and posted cell phone video of the moment on Facebook.
From the screams in the ArcLight Theater, you’d have thought the “Star Wars” franchise had been abandoned, not reborn.
Most people thought they were about to see the ending of the movie without preceding plot developments, Melendez said.
Some people in the audience yelled “No no no!” over and over.
“Now that we watched the movie, we know it wasn’t the ending,” Melendez said. “However, at the time, we thought it was because we saw the movie fast forwarded and believed it to be spoilers.”
Biggest box office opening ever
“Star Wars” now rules the box office galaxy.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” became the biggest opening in movie history bringing in an estimated $238 million in the U.S. this weekend.
The film flew past the opening weekend record held by Universal’s “Jurassic World,” which made $208.8 million on the weekend it opened in June.
So far the film has made $517 million around the world since opening overseas on Wednesday. This is the second highest global debut of all-time behind only “Jurassic World,” which made $525 million globally in June.
However, “The Force Awakens” has yet to open in China, the world’s second biggest film market. It will open there on January 9.
“The Force Awakens” now holds the box office records for biggest Thursday night opening, biggest one day gross, biggest December debut, and biggest opening weekend of all time.
The Disney film opened in 4,134 theaters. It is the seventh in the “Star Wars” saga, and the first film starring beloved characters like Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”
Fans of the franchise also came out in record numbers over the weekend to be introduced to new characters like Daisy Ridley’s scavenger Rey, Adam Driver’s villainous Kylo Ren, and John Boyega’s stormtrooper turned good Finn.
“For ‘Star Wars’ fans and Hollywood, this weekend was like the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Kentucky Derby all rolled into one perfectly realized movie event,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “It’s also a great weekend to be a theater owner with an incredible number of satisfied patrons enjoying the majesty of the big screen communal experience.”
Roughly 58% of the “Force Awakens” audience was male while 63% of the audience was over the age of 25, according to data shared by the studio.
The newest tale from a galaxy far, far away was a critical as well as a financial hit.
“The Force Awakens” garnered a solid “A” CinemaScore and a near perfect 95% score on RottenTomatoes.com.
But this may just be the beginning of the film’s box office empire with movie choices in January and February pretty depleted at the cineplex.
“With incredible reviews and an excited hardcore fan base that will want to go back over and over again, ‘Force Awakens’ will have long-term playability well into 2016 where it should earn the lion’s share of its potentially record-breaking worldwide revenue,” Dergarabedian said.
Thanks to the massive debut of “The Force Awakens” the overall box office for all movies this weekend also broke a record, bringing in over $300 million for the first time in history