It's as if millions of Star Wars fans cried out for The Force Awakens tickets, and were suddenly silenced.
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first revealed by J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm, fans were skeptical - we've been burned by new Star Wars movies before, after all. But that ill will evaporated upon seeing the new trailers, with all the lightsabers, starfighters, and Han Solo/Chewbacca reunions they entailed. The most important detail came at the end of the trailer: "Tickets Available Now". And Star Wars fans have bought these tickets en masse, breaking all known advanced US ticket sales a month before release.
If you've attempted to buy a Force Awakens ticket recently (don't pretend you haven't), you might've noticed they're hard to come by. That's because customers have purchased over $50 million in advance tickets, crushing The Dark Knight Rises' 2012 record of $25 million. Imax screenings in particular are doing quite well, breaking records once again with $9 million in advance tickets.
Now, $50 million doesn't sound like much, but let's put it in context: The biggest all-time box-office opening record is Jurassic World at $209 million. At this rate, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be halfway there before a single theatrical screening. The demand is so high, some theaters are scheduling 2 and 5am screenings, which doesn't even get into locations which have sold out completely.
And that's just talking about US records. Disney also reported 200,000+ ticket purchases across the UK in the first 24 hours. International ticket sales are harder to gauge - Star Wars has a smaller following in China than North America - but Episode VII could be the film which bucks that trend. Regardless, if these rates continue across repeat viewings? The Force Awakens might finally dethrone Avatar's box office lifetime total of $2.79 billion.
If the Force is with it, that is.