October 20, 2015 / 8:59 PM / 2 years ago

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' breaks ticket presale records

LOS ANGELES, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Early ticket sales for December's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" broke IMAX records with more than $6.5 million for U.S. screenings, the theater chain said on Tuesday, and views for the latest trailer surpassed 21 million on social media.

IMAX Corp said presales for "The Force Awakens," which kicked off late Monday, far outpaced first day sales for 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Avengers" and 2013's "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," all in the $1 million presale range.

As tickets for the Dec. 18 film release went on sale, online ticketer Fandango suffered temporary outages as fans flocked to the site. Fandango said on Tuesday it "experienced unprecedented ticketing demand," with more than seven times the normal traffic it usually saw.

Fandango declined to reveal how many tickets it had sold for "The Force Awakens," but said it was eight times more than previous record holder, 2011's "The Hunger Games."

The third trailer for "The Force Awakens" debuted on Monday during the halftime slot on ESPN's Monday Night Football, and quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter, with more than 17,000 tweets per minute when the trailer aired.

There were more than 1.1 million tweets about the trailer in the 12-hour period after it aired, Twitter said.

Facebook said 1.3 million people engaged in 2.1 million interactions within the first hour of the trailer release. The trailer has so far garnered more than 13 million views on YouTube and 8.8 million views on Facebook.

The two-and-a-half minute trailer was the longest look yet at Walt Disney Co's rebooting of George Lucas' beloved intergalactic franchise.

It gave a glimpse of the vast scope and characters the new film will explore, including the return of veterans Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, as well as newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver. (Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, editing by Jill Serjeant and Marguerita Choy)

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