Before "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hit theaters, it was pretty clear it would be one of the biggest film debuts of all time. It featured the return of a beloved franchise with both familiar characters and fresh new faces that almost couldn't believe they were a part of the action. It inspired the creation of apps to help fans avoid Star Wars spoilers until they saw the movie. Initial reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Bottom line, less than two weeks after its release, "The Force Awakens" has already become firmly entrenched as a cultural phenomenon.
All that remains to be seen now is how far it'll go in the box office. As Vox has pointed out, it's already close to passing "Avatar" to become the highest-grossing film ever in North America. Worldwide though, it's got a lot of work to do: "Avatar" and "Titanic" are the only two movies to ever exceed $2 billion in ticket sales, and "The Force Awakens" has only just crossed the $1 billion mark. "Avatar" is sitting pretty in the top spot at $2.788 billion, and got there off an extended run that lasted weeks and weeks after its debut.
One major factor in the movie's favor is that it hasn't been released in China yet — a massive market that Hollywood has been depending on more and more as ticket sales lag in the U.S. If Chinese audiences respond to the film the same way rabid fans stateside have, it'll have a shot.
People have been turning out to see "The Force Awakens" as many as three or four times here, and it's also appealing to much wider demographics than just caucasian males. That's probably thanks in part to its two leads, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, neither of whom are white dudes. It remains to be seen just how far their Star Wars film will be able to ride its initial momentum, but Disney is probably pretty happy with its investment already, so record or not, everyone's pockets are pretty full.
Cover image: Star Wars via YouTube