LOS ANGELES (AP) — They laughed. They cried. They came in droves.
"Star Wars" fans flooded cinemas around the world Thursday for the first showings of the breathlessly anticipated seventh installment of the space saga, and they floated out on nostalgia and positive reviews.
"Wow! JJ Baby that was one in a million!!!" Harry Knowles, founder of fan site Ain't It Cool News, gushed on Twitter, where #StarWarsTheForceAwakens was a trending topic Thursday night.
For many fans, finally seeing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" the film was an emotional experience.
"My emotions. My mind. My heart," Esteban Detres wrote on Twitter after watching the film in IMAX at a Dallas theater. "The hype was more than delivered on. It was everything I ever thought it would be."
The global rollout of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was breaking records abroad and in presales ahead of its Thursday evening debut in the United States.
The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday the film debuted with $14.1 million from its first screenings Wednesday in 12 international markets. The largest was France, where the film earned $5.2 million. It set a one-day record in Norway and Sweden.
More than $100 million in tickets have been presold in North America. The movie ticket service Fandango said it has already sold more tickets for "Force Awakens" than any movie over its entire theatrical run.
Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney, sought to assure moviegoers that theaters aren't sold out. Hollis said "there are literally millions of tickets available for this weekend."