Star Wars mania reaches far and wide (PHOTOS)

GlobalPost
Audrey Mata from Washington D.C. dressed as Princess Leia, comes face to face with a replica of R2-D2 at the "For The Love of The Force" Star Wars fan convention in Manchester, northern England, Dec. 4, 2015.
Phil Noble

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES — "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hauled in an estimated $250 million at global movie box offices through Friday and was on track to finish its opening weekend with record US and Canadian ticket sales, Walt Disney Co said on Saturday.

The seventh movie in the celebrated sci-fi franchise is projected to sell close to $220 million worth of tickets in the United States and Canada through Sunday, beating the record $208.8 million for "Jurassic World" in June, Disney said.

A boy dressed as Yoda takes part in an event held for the release of the film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in San Salvador, El Salvador, Dec. 17, 2015.
A person dressed as a Storm Trooper attends the release of the film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallee, France, Dec. 16, 2015.

The movie already smashed several film industry records and won praise from critics and moviegoers. It collected $120.5 million on Friday, its first full day in domestic theaters, the highest single-day ticket sales ever.

That includes a chart-topping $57 million from fans who rushed out to see the first showings on Thursday night.

Guatemalans dressed as Princess Leia sing the Star Wars soundtrack during an event held for the release of the film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Guatemala City, Dec. 16, 2015.
Enthusiasts, one wearing a Chewbacca costume, wait to spot members of the cast at the European premiere of "Star Wars, The Force Awakens" in Leicester Square, London, Dec. 16, 2015.

"Force Awakens" began rolling out in global markets on Wednesday. Through Friday, international ticket sales reached $129.5 million, setting opening-day records in Britain, Germany, Australia, Brazil and other countries.

The new "Star Wars" film is the first installment in a decade in the series created by George Lucas in 1977. Disney bought "Star Wars" producer Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012 and spent more than $200 million to produce "Force Awakens."

Fans at the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Hollywood, Calif., Dec. 14, 2015.
The image of Han Solo appears on a screen, as enthusiasts wait to spot members of the cast at the European premiere of "Star Wars, The Force Awakens" in Leicester Square, London, Dec. 16, 2015.

The movie is now open in all markets except Greece and India, where it opens Dec. 24, and China, which has set a Jan. 9 debut. China is the world's second-largest film market.

"Force Awakens" has a shot at becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time, according to some analysts. The current record holder is "Avatar," which generated $2.8 billion worldwide after its December 2009 release.

Star Wars fan Josh Lynch, dressed as Princess Leia, poses in front of an X-wing fighter at the "For The Love of The Force" fan convention in Manchester, northern England, Dec.4, 2015.
Star Wars fans Toni Korlee (left) and Outi Korlee play with their mock light sabers prior to the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" movie premiere in Helsinki, Finland, Dec. 16, 2015.

Critics applauded "Force Awakens," which features newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac alongside original stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

The movie directed by J.J. Abrams scored a 95 percent positive rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences awarded an "A" rating in polling by survey firm CinemaScore, Disney said.

Audrey Mata from Washington D.C. dressed as Princess Leia, comes face to face with a replica of R2-D2 at the "For The Love of The Force" Star Wars fan convention in Manchester, northern England, Dec. 4, 2015.
People take photos of Stormtroopers as they gather around a life-sized "Star Wars" TIE Fighter model on display at Singapore's Changi Airport, Nov. 12, 2015.
Droid BB-8 arrives at the world premiere of the film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Hollywood, Dec. 14, 2015.
People dressed as Stormtroopers stand at a bar at the "For The Love of The Force'"Star Wars fan convention in Manchester, northern England, Dec. 4, 2015.