Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashes box office record

Moviegoers cheer and wave lightsabers before the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday last week.
Moviegoers cheer and wave lightsabers before the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday last week.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Star Wars: The Force Awakens generated a record US$238 million (S$364.34 million) in US and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend as fans of the space saga packed cinemas, according to Walt Disney Co estimates on Sunday (Dec 20).

The first Star Wars film in a decade took in a total of US$517 million at box offices around the world, Disney said.

Domestic sales eclipsed the previous US$208.8 million record set by dinosaur adventure film Jurassic World in June.

The Force Awakens is the seventh instalment in the epic science-fiction franchise created by George Lucas in 1977. Disney bought producer Lucasfilm for US$4 billion in 2012.

Fans of the series revelled in the chance to revisit the Star Wars galaxy at the weekend. Some dressed as Jedi or Sith, carried lightsabers and cheered when classic characters such as Princess Leia or Chewbacca appeared on screen.

Cinemas added showtimes to meet demand, Disney said.