If you suspected that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would smash box office records when you saw the lengthy queues at your local theater, you made a pretty good guess. Disney expects the adventures of Finn, Poe and Rey to set an all-time domestic debut record with an estimated $238 million haul. The previous best, this summer's Jurassic World, "only" pulled in $208.8 million. On top of that, TFA also broke several other domestic records, including the biggest single-day gross ($120.5 million), biggest Thursday preview ($57 million), best December debut and multiple IMAX records. Worldwide, it's estimated to rake in $517 million over its first five days -- and that $4 billion Lucasfilm purchase suddenly seems like the bargain of the century.
Some international records tumbled, too, such as the biggest opening weekends in Australia ($18.9 million), Germany ($27.3 million), Russia ($12.3 million and the UK ($48.9 million).
It doesn't take much to understand why the movie succeeded, of course. You're combining one of the biggest franchises ever with one of the industry's more accomplished directors and an almost overwhelming level of hype. It'd be surprising if the movie didn't succeed. Still, this is a watershed moment for geek culture as a whole. While there have certainly been successful sci-fi movies in the past (including this fall's The Martian), it's rare that they dominate the media landscape so completely.
Heads-up: the comments are likely to be rife with spoilers, so you may want to skip them if you have yet to watch the movie.