Movio film market research, which studies North American moviegoer audience behavior, has released some stats on presales for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Per Movio’s sampling, 94.5% of those who bought advance tickets for the film did so for opening weekend.
Of that sample, 38.8% are going to see the J.J. Abrams film on Thursday, half of them for the first screening session at 7 PM. The preferred choice of opening-night moviegoers is 2D, at 54.2%.
Industry analysts already are predicting a $50M Thursday night for Force Awakens, outstripping the pre-opening record of $43.5M set by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 in 2011. Of the 4,100 screens playing The Force Awakens, 80% will be in 3D along with 392 Imax, 451 PLF screens and 146 D-box locations. Movio reports that the opening night audience is made up of 70.4% guys, which is 6.5% greater than Jurassic World‘s which is close to 64%. The current opening-weekend projection for Force Awakens is $180M-$220M.
Movio further notes that most of those heading out to see Star Wars on opening night are guys, with close to 53% between the ages of 22-49. That demo is 13% larger than those who watched Jurassic World on its first Thursday. In regard to the rest of the advance-ticket sales breakdown: 26.9% scooped up tickets for Friday, 14.9% on Saturday, 7.5% on Sunday and 2.4% on Christmas day.
Of utmost concern to Disney this weekend is that there is an assumption by mass moviegoers that there aren’t any tickets available, particularly with industry presales reaching an estimated $100M by Friday night. Per the studio, there’s plenty of Force Awakens tickets that will be made available for those who opt to walk up to the theater this weekend.
Said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis last night: “There’s a lot to be excited about when you see the kind of advance sales we’ve seen on this film, in December no less. But with so many screenings available and the ability of exhibitors to expand based on demand, anyone who shows up at the box office to find a showtime for this weekend will be able to find one – more than once if they are so inclined.”
Elizabeth Frank, AMC Theatres chief content and programming officer also chimed in. “You can’t get any broader than this movie when it comes to audience appeal,” she said, “and this weekend and beyond, AMC will offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy Star Wars however they would like — evening, midnight or morning, Imax, Dolby Cinema, 2D or 3D, big cities and small towns, even corporate events and children’s birthday parties. And there are plenty of tickets available for them all.”
While film reviewers, select media and Hollywood notables saw The Force Awakens this week, theaters owners are seeing the film for the first time today at exhibition screenings.