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‘The Force Awakens’ returns U.S. box office crown to ‘Star Wars’

“Star Wars” is once again more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

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.

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