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)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets 4 out of 5 stars2:37

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.

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. 

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): 

  1. Avatar ($2.788 billion)
  2. Titanic ($2.186 billion)
  3. Jurassic World ($1.669 billion)
Box Office

The Force Awakens is set 30 years after The Return of the Jedi, with classic characters such as Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) returning to the series. (Film Frame/Lucasfilm/The Associated Press)