"This will begin to make things right,” a voice says in the opening scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There was (and still is) a lot riding on The Force Awakens. Those of us who grew up watching episodes IV, V, and VI (and still have the bad taste of I through III) wanted this continuation to do the series right. Many would say it has; it reminds us of everything we loved about the original Star Wars.

By the box office numbers, the film has exceeded even Disney's high expectations. The movie grossed $517 million worldwide in its opening weekend, a new record. Earlier this week, it was announced that the film had eclipsed $1 billion in total gross. Star Wars' sights are now set on Titanic and Avatar, the two highest-grossing films of all time.

When I walked into the theater opening weekend, I sat next to a little girl who accompanied her father and grandfather. That image spoke volumes to me. I realized that Star Wars' success relies on how it's a franchise without generational boundaries. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Ys, and Millennials: Everyone is going to see this movie. It transcends and connects so many different demographics.

Of course, the same could be said for The Phantom Menace, but what's going to keep the success of The Force Awakens going is its praise.

The Phantom Menace made $64.8 million its opening weekend back in May of 1999, and I can still remember my father's utter disappointment when we walked out of the theater that evening. We would not be going again, and I wouldn't understand his reaction until I rewatched the prequels years later as an adult. But The Force Awakens washes away the years of frustration. It has brought us the next generation of A New Hope (in more ways than one). And it has (and will continue to) unite families as a unanimous choice of what to go see this holiday season. I know it has with mine.

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Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Staff