The force is strong with the new Star Wars film, as J.J. Abrams's latest chapter of the space saga continues its record-blasting run at the box office.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens took in $88.3 million US at the North American box office over the New Year's weekend, bringing the film's domestic tally to $740.3 million and pushing the global figure to $1.51 billion.
The movie has already surpassed several significant milestones, including becoming the fastest film to make $1 billion at the global box office and scoring the biggest worldwide debut ($529 million).
Having now surpassed James Cameron's mammoth romance Titanic ($658.6 million) at the domestic box office, Force Awakens is poised to take down the Canadian director's other movie behemoth, Avatar, currently the top-grossing film of all time in North America.
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Avatar earned $760.5 million during its North American release in 2009. The film, Cameron's 3D extravaganza about humans exploring a lush alien world, crossed the $700-million threshold after 72 days in the theatres. Sequel films are in the works.
Meanwhile, Force Awakens crossed that $700-million threshold in just 16 days and is expected to surpass Avatar by midweek.
Force Awakens — which returns to a galaxy far, far away 30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire and amid the disappearance of famed Jedi Luke Skywalker — is expected to experience another major boost next weekend with its Jan. 9 opening in China, the world's second-largest movie market.
Globally, Force Awakens is currently the sixth highest-grossing film in history.
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However, it is forecast to leapfrog the current fourth- and fifth-place movies — The Avengers ($1.519 billion) and Furious 7 ($1.515 billion) — in a matter of days.
The current first, second and third highest-grossing films worldwide are (respectively, according to Box Office Mojo):
- Avatar ($2.788 billion)
- Titanic ($2.186 billion)
- Jurassic World ($1.669 billion)