“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has overtaken “Avatar” by nearly $4 million to become the top-grossing film of all time in North America, Disney said Thursday, as the space saga battles for global box office supremacy.
Disney said the seventh installment in the “Star Wars” franchise had earned $764.4 million in ticket sales from the US and Canada by Wednesday, surpassing the earlier record of $760.5 million earned by James Cameron’s Oscar-winning sci-fi epic “Avatar.”
Globally, “The Force Awakens” has so far made nearly $1.58 billion, Disney said, which means it still has some work to do 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).
Its global aspirations depend in part on the upcoming release on Saturday in the huge Chinese market of the film directed by J.J. Abrams, which could help give it a further push to light speed.
The record-breaking performance in North America of “The Force Awakens” does not factor in inflation. According to tracker Box Office Mojo, “Gone With The Wind” is the king with $1.74 billion in domestic ticket sales, when adjusted for inflation.
Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas for $4 billion in 2012, plans two more films in the space saga as well as a stand-alone spinoff.
Cameron is planning three sequels to “Avatar,” which should ensure that the two franchises will continue battling it out at the box office.