Star Wars: Force Awakens–Widest December Release in History

December 14, 2015–Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets the widest December release in history by playing this weekend in more than 4,100 theaters.

That includes 3,300 3D locations, 392 Imax screens (a record number), 451 premium large-format screens and 146 D-Box locations.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) is the current December record-holder (4,045 locations). The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which hit theaters in late June 2010, boasts the widest release of all time (4,468 theaters). December is a more crowded corridor, however, so Force Awakens was never expected to set an overall record. Also, drive-in and other seasonal theaters are closed.

Force Awaken‘s box-office potential has become a guessing game. Tracking suggests it will open to $180 million to $220 million domestically, well ahead of the record $85 million debut of Unexpected Journey in December 2012.

Movies that open over the year-end holidays can see huge multiples, including the two top-grossing films of all time, 2009’s Avatar ($2.8 billion) and 1997’s Titanic ($2.2 billion).

This summer, Jurassic World set a new threshold in North America when opening to $208.8 million domestically. More bullish box-office observers believe Force Awakens could set a new mark.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, Force Awakens — which stages its world premiere Monday night in Los Angeles — begins rolling out Thursday night before playing everywhere Friday.

The picture bows in nearly every major market this week. The one exception is China, where it won’t debut until January 9, 2016.