New Star Wars overtakes Jurassic World for biggest global debut in movie history

Star Wars fans raise their lightsabres in downtown Los Angeles on Dec 18.
Star Wars fans raise their lightsabres in downtown Los Angeles on Dec 18.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP/REUTERS) - The new Star Wars movie has set a global opening weekend record, smashing past the previous record holder Jurassic World to rake in US$529 million (S$744.64 million), Walt Disney Co said on Monday.

"With final numbers now in, Star Wars: The Force Awakens rose above estimates to post an all-time industry-high US$248 million domestically plus US$281 million internationally for an all-time record global debut of US$529 million since opening December 16," the company said in a statement.

The film, the seventh instalment in a newly rebooted Star Wars franchise, pushed Disney's 2015 box office gross past the US$5 billion mark.

The Force Awakens opened in some international markets on Dec 16 before rolling out in North America from the night of Dec 17. It has set box office records for biggest opening in countries including the United Kingdom, Australia and Russia.

IMAX Corp said Monday that the film accounted for US$48 million in ticket sales worldwide.

The film smashed through the previous biggest global box office opening record, US$524 million set by Comcast Corp-owned Universal Pictures' Jurassic World earlier this year.

Disney's slate of hit films this year has included Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, Pixar animation Inside Out and live action fairytale Cinderella.

Fans of Star Wars have dominated social media over the weekend, with more than 64 million people engaging in 140 million interactions about the franchise on Facebook, the company said on Monday.

Twitter Inc added that The Force Awakens became the most tweeted-about movie of the year, garnering 4.9 million tweets over the weekend.

The studio 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 instalments 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 Lucas created in 1977 and set in a galaxy far, far away.