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Disney celebrates as Star Wars breaks box office records

Star Wars: The Force Awakens took an estimated US$517mln in global ticket sales
Disney celebrates as Star Wars breaks box office records
Star Wars may make US$2bn for Disney, analysts say

Shares in film giant Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) rose on Monday after new blockbuster Star Wars broke box office records since its release last Thursday.

The stock rose in early trading in New York after Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit all-time highs with an estimated US$517mln in global ticket sales..

The eagerly awaited latest instalment in the Star Wars series rang up a record US$238mln of US and Canadian box office takings.

Analysts said the Star Wars success would come as a much-needed boost to Disney, whose sports broadcasting business ESPN has faced falling subscriber numbers.

They reckon it may make $2bn for Disney over time, against US$1.7bn for Jurassic World.

The early success of the film is also likely to spell good news for UK and central European cinema chain Cineworld (LON:CINE).

Stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown said: "In its last trading update, management highlighted that two forthcoming major releases - Star Wars: The Force Awakens and latest Bond movie Spectre - were likely to be big draws at the box office."

Hargreaves said analyst consensus opinion on Cineworld pointed to a 'buy'. Shares in Cineworld rose 6.5p to 547.5p.

Disney bought Star Wars maker Lucasfilm for US$4bn in 2012 as part of a drive to focus on big-ticket movies. The Force Awakens is the seventh in the series created by George Lucas in 1977.

The film is being tipped to top the record achievement of Avatar in grossing US$2.8bn in global sales.

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