'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' release date: advance ticket sales notch up more than $50 million for the filmmakers already

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There’s still more than three weeks to go before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters, but the highly-anticipated seventh film in the massively popular franchise is already breaking records.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that “The Force Awakens” has surpassed the $50 million mark in advance ticket sales, signaling that the new Walt Disney Co. movie could very well become the highest-grossing release of all time. 

The first batch of presale tickets were made available on Oct. 19, but the huge demand led numerous ticketing sites, including Fandango, MovieTickets, ArcLight Cinemas, Regal Cinemas, and AMC, to crash

In the wake of the ticketing system meltdown, Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse theaters, issued an apology, saying that the demand for tickets “exposed weaknesses in [their] ticketing infrastructure, and that of Fandango, Regal, AMC, and Cinemark, not to mention other exhibitors across the globe who also crashed.”

League added, “We tried to be ready for this hugely important day, and we missed the mark.” 

He called the “Star Wars'”advance ticketing fiasco “the single biggest simultaneous surge for movie tickets our industry has ever seen.” 

Meanwhile, Fandango, the nation’s largest online ticket merchant, confirmed that “The Force Awakens” is reaching unprecedented heights.

In October, the company said, as quoted by Entertainment Weekly, “For ‘Star Wars,’ we have already sold eight times as many tickets as we did on the first day of sales for the previous record holder.”

The company also reported that the demand for tickets drove Fandango’s online traffic to seven times its normal peak levels.

AMC Theaters, the second-biggest theater chain in the country, revealed that the film had surpassed its single-day advance ticket sales record by at least 10 times over. MovieTickets reported a threefold increase in its traffic, the highest in the company’s 15-year history. 

According to Variety, sources predict that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will play in at least 4,000 theaters when it opens on Dec. 18.