This should come as no shock. But Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already a box office behemoth, and it only officially opens today, December 18. The long-awaited sequel first debuted with Thursday Night Previews. And it has broken the previous record. Last night, the J.J. Abrams directed follow-up to Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi took in $57 million. This completely dethroned one Wizard who has just had his wand obliterated.

Back in 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 broke the Thursday Preview Night record with $43.5 million. But the Force was strong with Star Wars 7, as it managed to pull in $13.5 million more than the final trip to Hogwarts. 47% of the $57 million came from 3D screenings. While IMAX generated $5.7 million of the take from 391 screens. This beats the previous IMAX record by nearly double the previous $3 million.

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Most theaters began showing Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 7 pm. Back in 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 didn't open until Midnight. Things have changed since then, though. Following the The Dark Knight Rises mass theater shooting in 2012, most theaters have done away with the Midnight preview screenings. The Force Awakens was the exception, though, as some theater chains played the movie 24 hours around the clock last night, and plan on doing so again tonight.

Last night's massive haul will be included in the Friday opening Day ticket sales. The biggest single day record still belongs to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. Four years ago, it managed to pull in $91 million during its first Friday in release. This included the $43.4 million from Thursday preview screenings. Star Wars: The Force Awakens should have no problem besting those numbers.

As it stands right now, Jurassic World holds the record for biggest opening weekend. This past June, the sequel surprised everyone when it earned $208.8 million. This surpassed the $207.4 million that Marvel's The Avengers earned back in 2012. While that superhero epic managed to hold onto its record for three years, it looks likely that Jurassic World will have to give up its crown after just a mere 6 months.

The fact that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been playing around the clock gives it an upper hand these other films did not have. Also opening this weekend is the comedy Sisters, starring Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Some believed it would open in the mid-teens. Though, now some believe it will barely make it to $10 million. The sequel Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip is also scheduled to have its big debut this weekend. What do you think? Will Star Wars: The Force Awakens break ever standing box office record? Perhaps it will create a few new ones of its own.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange