Disney CEO says 'Star Wars' global sales may reach $528 mln-Bbg

Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:56am EST
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Dec 21 (Reuters) - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" may rake in $528 million in worldwide ticket sales over the weekend, Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Bob Iger said on Bloomberg TV.

That would beat the record opening weekend sales of $525 million that dinosaur film "Jurassic World" garnered earlier this year in its worldwide release, including in China.

The force will awaken in China, the world's second-largest movie market, on Jan. 9. The last "Star Wars" movie in 2005 collected just $9 million there.

The first "Star Wars" film in a decade recorded the biggest domestic opening in Hollywood's history, collecting $238 million over the weekend in the United States and Canada.

It also set records in Britain, Australia, Russia and elsewhere as fans embraced a new chapter in the galactic battle between good and evil.

The film's financial and critical success mark a victory for Iger's strategy of acquiring proven brands, including Pixar Animation and comic book powerhouse Marvel, to fuel Disney's entertainment empire.

Disney purchased "Star Wars" producer Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012 as part of his bet on big-budget films.

Disney plans four "Star Wars" movies through 2019, plus major expansions at its U.S. theme parks to incorporate the droids, spaceships and otherworldly creatures of the universe Lucas invented. "Force Awakens" toys, clothing, home accessories and video games already pervade stores ahead of Christmas.

The movie could become the highest-grossing movie of all time, box office analysts said. "Avatar" holds that title with $2.8 billion in global sales. (Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)