2ND UPDATE, 12:53 PM: Guess what? There’s already a domestic box office gross out on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Imax is reporting $6.5M in domestic ticket sales, with pre-sales breaking every Imax record. The film is set to open in about 390 Imax screens in North America. What did Force Awakens beat? We’re told that The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Avengers were in the same $1M reported pre-sales range.
UPDATE, 12:10 PM: Advance tickets sales for Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens are blowing up advance ticket records for a number of online retailers. Fandango reported earlier this morning that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is outstripping pre-sales for the first Hunger Games, which holds the company’s first day pre-sales record. Now AMC Theaters says that the JJ Abrams’ directed film set a single-day advance ticket sales record for the exhibitor, beating the previous record by more than 10X. In less than 12 hours, AMC sold out more than 1,000 shows nationwide.
AMC is continually adding showtime with nearly 4M tickets available for the opening weekend of Dec. 18-20 across different platforms: Imax, 3D, Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime and AMC Dine-In Theatres. Imax alone accounted for 38% of all ticket sales grosses. In Orlando alone where AMC has the exclusive Star Wars opening night event at the Disney Springs 24 theater, the venue sold out 17 showtimes in a matter of hours. The exhib anticipates more of its theaters staying open for 24 hours for Force Awakens on Friday, December 18, but for now it’s the Aventura 24 (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale), Bowles Crossing 12 (Denver), AMC Colonial 18 (Atlanta), AMC Empire 25 (NYC), Fresh Meadows 7 (NYC), Gulf Pointe 30 (Houston), Lakewood 12 (Seattle), Levittown 10 (NYC), Palisades 21 (NYC), Schererville 16 (Chicago), Spring 10 (Houston) and the Village Crossing 18 (Chicago).
A Fandango company rep remarked earlier about their results: “This is an extraordinary time for the industry, which experienced unprecedented ticketing demand last night for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In fact, Fandango traffic surged to 7 times its typical peak levels, propelling Fandango’s advance sales for Star Wars to a record-setting first day of pre-sales. For Star Wars, we have already sold 8 times as many tickets as we did on the first day of sales for the previous record holder. Movie theaters are continually adding new show times on Fandango to meet the phenomenal demand. The enthusiasm for this year’s most anticipated movie is out of this world and we expect it to continue all the way to its debut on December 18.”
Over at Movietickets.com, Force Awakens comprises 95% of the site’s sales since yesterday, producing the site’s biggest first day sales of any title. Last night MovieTickets.com saw traffic 3 times higher than the highest peak in the company’s 15+ year history. The Force Awakens sales are already 4x greater than advance tickets sold for the last released installment in the franchise, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith over the same period of time.
Deadline reported last night that Force Awakens movie ticket buyers were having a hard time with Fandango and other pre-sales sites timing out. Technically, per industry sources, Fandango’s server did not crash per se, rather industrywide there were intermittent performance challenges. It’s what happens when there’s a long queue, buying tickets online, quite similar to what will go on with Ticketmaster say when Madonna tickets go on sale in advance.