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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' smashes 'Harry Potter' Thursday box office record

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' smashes 'Harry Potter' Thursday box office record
Daisy Ridley plays Rey in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." (Lucasfilm)

"Star Wars" fans were out in full force Thursday night.

The long-awaited seventh film in the space saga -- "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" -- collected a record-smashing $57 million in ticket sales Thursday night in the United States and Canada. 

That tops the previous record holder, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2," which grossed $43.5 million from Thursday shows in July 2011.

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Box office analysts went into the weekend expecting the new "Star Wars" from director J.J. Abrams to gross $180 million to $220 million through Sunday in its domestic opening weekend. 

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It remains to be seen if "The Force Awakens" will top the record $209 million that "Jurassic World" opened with in June.

Lines stretched around the block between Thursday showings of "The Force Awakens" at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Pre-sales for the movie hit a staggering $100 million.

The film began its international rollout Wednesday and has grossed $72.7 million overseas so far, bringing its global cumulative box office to $130 million.

Twitter: @rfaughnder

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