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If anyone ever doubted that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be a blockbuster success those concerns are long gone, with the film skyrocketing up the chart of all-time top-grossing films.
The Force Awakens barreled past the $1 billion mark globally faster than any other movie in history, managing to accomplish the feat in just 12 days, something it took the previous record holder, Jurassic World, 13 days to achieve. The film is also now said to be on its way to conquer Avatar, which broke all records in 2009 by earning $2.7 billion.
The movie has not only had great commercial success; it has also received universally strong critical support in addition to being considered a possible awards contender.
Hollywood Reporter expert Scott Feinberg has said the movie “could resonate with the Academy” after being named one of the American Film Institute’s 10 best films of the year. At least part of the reason for its success is the return of the original cast members, including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
If it does pick up a best picture nomination it would be the first Star Wars film since the original to achieve the honor.
But The Force Awakens isn’t just helping theaters enjoy a much stronger year after a dismal 2014 — it’s likely to bring lots of tourism dollars to many of the filming locations, including Ireland. IrishCentral.com writes that it “could be the biggest boost ever for Irish tourism” as 20 percent of the tourists who visit Ireland have been influenced to do so by a film.
— Spoilers Below! —
The final scene of the movie ends atop a stunning mountain island, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) extending a light saber to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The actual location of the formidable Jedi meet-up is Skellig Michael, a magnificent craggy rock of an island that was a monastery from the 6th- to 12th-century, located about eight miles off the southwest coast of Ireland in County Kerry.
As one of the “loveliest and most dramatic islands” on the planet, on film it looks “spectacular, and it will be the first image millions of people will ever see of the Emerald Isle,” IrishCentral.com notes, which is why Tourism Ireland is predicting that 2016 will see a record tourism boost.
Other filming locations include Tunisia; Guatemala; Seville, Spain; Greenham Common, UK; Death Valley, California; Redwood and National State Parks, California; the Abu Dhabi desert; Finse, Norway and Lake Como, Italy.