A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...well actually not that long ago – we last saw Star Wars on screen. That was 2005 film Revenge of the Sith, the third in George Lucas's poorly received prequels to the original trilogy.

Over a decade later, the blockbuster space epic returns with new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Expectations are a little different this time around. Here are five reasons why The Force Awakens could become the highest grossing film of all time.


Anticipation for the new Star Wars film has reached fever pitch, with October's trailer racking up 70 million views.

The franchise has legions of fans who have long awaited a sequel to the original trilogy. With actors Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher returning, The Force Awakens promises to deliver the film fans have been waiting for since 1983's Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are returning for The Force Awakens Reuters/Getty Images

Ticket sales

The film has already broken records by making over $50m (£33m) in advance ticket sales, and by the time of the film's release this could be $100m (£66m). Most Imax shows have sold out, with cinemas continuing to add screenings to keep up with demand.

Ticket prices

It's not just that so many tickets have been sold, but the price of tickets has increased as well. In the US the average cinema ticket is now $8.34 (£5.50), a 30% increase from 10 years ago.

This is mainly down to the rise of the more expensive 3D and Imax screenings both in the US and around the world.

US cinema ticket prices
Average cost of a US cinema ticket in 2005 and 2015 Statista/IBTimes UK

Emerging markets

Whilst The Force Awakens is sure to perform well in the United States, it's now abroad where blockbusters make most of their box office.

Nowhere is that more true than the world's second largest film market – China. The three biggest films of 2015 so far – Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7 – all made upwards of $200m (£131m) at the Chinese box office.

Disney are making sure The Force Awakens will make a big splash in China, going as far as to fly in 500 stormtroopers for a promotional event on the Great Wall in October.

Star Wars The Force Awakens
500 stormtroopers stood on the Great Wall of China as part of Disney's promotional efforts in the country Reuters


Finally, ticket sales have increased not just because of Imax and 3D, but also down to inflation. The biggest film of all time, adjusted for inflation, is not Avatar but 1939 classic Gone With The Wind, which in today's money made a whopping $3.9bn (£2.6bn) at the box office.

Whilst it's highly unlikely the new Star Wars film can beat that, there's still a strong chance that due to hype, ticket sales and inflation, The Force Awakens will become the first film to officially make $3bn (£1.9bn). It's an ambitious target, but if you don't think The Force Awakens can do it, I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 17 December.