'Star Wars' passes 'Avatar' for North America box office record

(MENAFN- AFP) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" soared past "Avatar" to seize the title of top-grossing movie ever in North America, the Disney studio announced.

Disney said the seventh film in the "Star Wars" saga had grossed $758.2 million through Tuesday, when it took in $8 million, and surpassed on Wednesday the $760.5 million earned by James Cameron's Oscar-winning futuristic sci-fi epic "Avatar."

"This afternoon, with early box office results in, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' became the highest-grossing film of all time in the domestic market," Disney said in a statement, without providing figures.

At $1.56 billion in global earnings, "The Force Awakens" still has some work ahead to overtake "Avatar" ($2.79 billion) or another Cameron blockbuster, "Titanic" ($2.19 billion).

It is now fourth in all-time worldwide revenues, also trailing "Jurassic World" ($1.67 billion).

But many observers expect the film, produced by Lucasfilm and Bad Robot Productions and distributed globally by Disney, ultimately to challenge for the top spot.

"'Star' Wars has always been one of the most beloved franchises in all of filmdom...it was just a matter of finally having a deserving sequel to the original trilogy that tipped the scales and topped 'Avatar,'" said Jeff Bock, of industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The upcoming release on Saturday in the huge Chinese market of the film directed by J.J. Abrams could help give it a further push to warp speed.

The success of "The Force Awakens" -- detailing the adventures of classic "Star Wars" characters Princess Leia and Han Solo as well as new heroes like Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron -- helped propel the overall American box office to a record $11.1 billion last year, the Rentrak website reported.


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