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Star Wars intimidates holiday movie docket

In 1977, a science-fiction film with unknown actors and an adventurous plot was expected to be one of the biggest flops of the year.

Surprising critics and audiences alike, “Star Wars” would go on to make more than $775 million worldwide and sell more than 178 million tickets, making it the second most-successful film of all time, tailing behind “Gone With the Wind.”

Thirty-eight years later, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the seventh installment in the Star Wars saga, is projected to shatter the $1.6 billion “Jurassic World” raked in this summer and place itself amongst “Avatar” and “Titanic” as one of the highest grossing films of all time.

The film sold more than $6.5 million worth of IMAX tickets on its first day – destroying the previous $1 million one-day presale record. AMC Theaters reported selling 10 times as many tickets as the theater’s previous one-day record.

Those are staggering records for a franchise that was expected to flop.

“I didn’t think the film was going to be successful,” Creator George Lucas said in an interview with Business Insider. “I showed it to my friends early on… They saw it and said, ‘Poor George. What were you thinking?’”

Now, director JJ Abrams is reviving the series under the covering of Disney, who bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise for $4 billion in 2012.

“The Force Awakens” will also bring back the beloved original cast after more than three decades.

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will return to play aged versions of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, respectively.

“The Force Awakens” is projected to break all previous records for a December film release. Its IMAX sales, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of all IMAX sales according to Forbes Magazine, are no laughing matter. Only 28 other films are releasing the same month, many of them unheard of by the public. “The Force Awakens” is poised to take flight and jump to hyper drive.

“The Force Awakens” opens December 18.

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