‘The Force Awakens’ returns U.S. box office crown to ‘Star Wars’
According to Forbes, Wednesday’s earnings will push “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” past the domestic record-setting $760.5 million earned by James Cameron’s 2009 feature “Avatar,” making the latest entry in the “Star Wars” saga the highest-grossing movie of all-time in North America, not accounting for inflation.
Remarkably, while “Avatar”‘s domestic gross was the product of a 310-day run, including a theatrical re-release, “The Force Awakens” achieved its milestone at a light speed pace of only 20 days.
The dethroning of Cameron’s “Avatar” marks a return of the North America box office crown to a “Star Wars” film. The original 1977 entry, later subtitled “A New Hope,” became the highest earning domestic film release six months into its original release — a record it held until “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” surpassed it in 1983. The 1997 special edition theatrical re-release would allow the original to briefly regain the title, only for Titanic — another James Cameron blockbuster — to top the charts for more than a decade.
While “The Force Awakens” may have taken the top spot in the North American box office, conquering “Avatar”‘s $2.78 billion global record may be in an entirely other galaxy altogether. Current estimates, according to The Hollywood Reporter, predict the film to ultimately gross between $2.2 and $2.4 billion worldwide, which would place it second of all time.