The Walt Disney Co. used force to create “unprecedented ticketing demand” for the new "Star Wars" movie, “The Force Awakens.” The movie tickets website Fandango told The Wall Street Journal that it sold eight times more tickets for “The Force Awakens” than it sold for “The Hunger Games,” the previous record holder for top-selling movie ticket in a single day. A Fandango competitor, MovieTickets.com, told the Journal that 95 percent of the tickets it’s sold over the past 24 hours have been for the hotly anticipated film, the seventh in a series that made its silver screen debut in 1977. AMC, the second-largest theater chain in the United States, said it has already sold out 1,000 showings of the movie, which is not scheduled to hit theaters until Dec. 18.
“This is an extraordinary time for the industry,” a Fandango spokesman said.
While "Star Wars" is unquestionably one of the most popular franchises in the history of popular culture, it’s clear Disney is going to pull every available lever to maximize interest in “The Force Awakens,” the first "Star Wars" film to be released since Disney bought Lucasfilm, which owned the rights to "Star Wars" and all its attendant intellectual property, for $4 billion in 2012. Disney unveiled the film’s most recent trailer during halftime of Monday Night Football on ESPN, another large Disney-owned property, and it announced Sunday that special opening night events will be held at Walt Disney World.
The company's going all-out because it has placed a strong bet on that success. Some analysts predict that a successful showing at the box office for Luke Skywalker et al could boost Disney’s stock price by as much as 25 percent, which would be no small feat for a company that has posted strong revenue gains, year over year, for the past nine quarters. In the third quarter of 2015, its total income was $2.5 billion.