Star Wars set for stellar $223M sales this weekend

$223M for Star Wars opening weekend
'Star Wars' may beat 'Avatar' at the box office
Expectations could not be higher for Star Wars
'Star Wars' will break records: Rentrak
'Star Wars' could have a $300M opening weekend: Analyst

The latest chapter in the "Star Wars" series will be opened tonight, when "Episode VII: The Force Awakens" has its premiere in Los Angeles. And before the first tub of popcorn is sold, the movie looks set to blast all box-office records.

The latest episode has already surpassed $50 million in advance ticket sales, a full month before it hits cinemas, and analysts expect "The Force Awakens" to outpace the record breaking opening weekend for "Jurassic World", which debuted with $208.8 million in the U.S.

Forecasts for its opening weekend are ranging from $170 million to $240 million domestically, with some believing the film could beat Avatar's record of $2.8 billion for worldwide grosses, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"I think anything around the $200 million range will sort of match the potential. We are actually thinking around $223 million ourselves for the opening weekend (for Star Wars)," BoxOffice Media's managing editor, Daniel Loría, told CNBC Monday.

"But let's not confuse potential with expectation. I think it has the potential to become the biggest opening weekend of all time but let's not put that expectation on it. I think the film can be successful without breaking every record."

A still image from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
'Star Wars' breaks pre-release sales record

BoxOffice Media isn't the only one feeling confident that "The Force Awakens" will deliver.

"I think most certainly it's going to break the all-time December opening weekend record. We've never had a movie in North America open with over $100 million in December and this will happen with the next Star Wars," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, told CNBC in August.

Tracking done by BoxOffice Media forecasts some $790 million in North America alone for the film, Loría tells CNBC, while its current 2015 rival, "Jurassic World", stands around $652.3 million at current grosses in the U.S.

The Millennium Falcon and TIE fighters as seen in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” teaser.
'Star Wars' gives Disney a ‘100-year plan’

It's not just how well the latest episode does domestically, but the overseas market can contribute up to two thirds for a big studio film, Loría explains.

"The international box office has grown so much over the last five years—and (as) it's been 10 years since the last Star Wars film—Star Wars hasn't had the chance to come out during the time of the overseas box office boom that we're currently having."

"A big studio film can expect to have anywhere between two thirds to around 40 percent of its total global box office coming from the international market. China for example is a huge market, that was nowhere near the size it is today back when the last (Star Wars) film was released."

Disclosure: Universal Pictures is a division of Comcast, the owner of NBC Universal and CNBC.

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her @AlexGibbsy and @CNBCi