Star Wars: The Force Awakens to top $1 billion in ticket sales by Sunday

A woman rushes past a store selling Star Wars merchandise along Hollywood Boulevard for the premiere of the latest Star Wars film.
A woman rushes past a store selling Star Wars merchandise along Hollywood Boulevard for the premiere of the latest Star Wars film.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The Force remains strong with the new Star Wars movie, which is on track to top US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in global ticket sales this weekend, making it the fastest-ever film to reach that level.

Walt Disney said in a statement on Saturday that Star Wars: The Force Awakens had generated box office receipts of US$890.3 million globally through Dec 25 and would pass US$1 billion this weekend.

The movie, the seventh installment in the newly rebooted Star Wars franchise, opened in some international markets on Dec 16 before rolling out in North America the following day.

It is set to hit the US$1 billion mark no later than Sunday, its 12th day in movie theatres, according to industry research firm Rentrak.

The current record holder for being the fastest to gross US$1 billion is Comcast Corp -owned Universal Pictures' Jurassic World, which took 13 days after its release earlier this year, Rentrak said.

The new Star Wars movie had already topped Jurassic World for the biggest opening weekend ever with US$529 million globally.

Disney said Star Wars has rung up US$440.4 million in US and Canada ticket sales and US$449.9 million internationally, and it is set to open in China, the world's No. 2 movie market, on Jan 9.

China is crucial if Disney's first foray into the world of Jedi knights is to earn a spot among the top-grossing films of all time.

On Friday, The Force Awakens set a US and Canadian record for largest box office on Christmas day with US$49.3 million, Disney said. That topped the previous record of US$24.6 million set by Sherlock Holmes in 2009.

Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas' Lucasfilm in 2012 for US$4.05 billion, and has planned for a new trilogy of films as well as standalone installments through 2019.

The franchise will also be incorporated at US Disney theme parks, bringing to life the droids, spaceships and otherworldly creatures of the universe that Lucas created in 1977 and is set in a galaxy far, far away.