'Force Awakens' rockets 'Star Wars' to box office record

PLUS: The NZ haul.

As many expected, the hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken box office records around the world for its opening weekend.

In North America, the seventh in one of Hollywood's most popular franchises opened to an estimated $US238 million, which easily passed Jurassic World’s opening weekend of $US209 million in June.

Elsewhere, The Force Awakens opened to $US279 million as it played in every major market except China, India and Greece.

In New Zealand, the first-day screenings alone, starting at midnight on Thursday, netted more than $1.5 million.

That is the third highest international debut of all time and positions the film to ultimately collect well over $US1 billion globally by the time its box-office run is done.

With a production budget of more than $US200 million, the Walt Disney Co stands to make a considerable profit.

More importantly, the film sets the scene for more sequels to come, not to mention multimedia spinoffs and merchandising.

Disney paid $US4 billion for Lucasfilm in 2012.

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