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Star Wars: The Force Awakens overtakes Avatar as the highest grossing movie in US history

Star Wars: The Force Awakens overtakes Avatar as the highest grossing movie in US history


The international record may be a different matter

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Disney / Lucasfilm

Disney and J.J. Abrams can finally relax. Today Star Wars: The Force Awakens has passed Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time at the domestic box office, less than three weeks after its release. The film pulled in about $90.2 million in the US over the last weekend for a total gross of $742.2 million, putting it ahead of Titanic for second place on the all-time list (not adjusted for inflation), and about $20 million behind Avatar. By Tuesday night estimates had Star Wars at $758 million, just shy of the $760.5 Avatar record. With the movie grossing around $8 million a day this week, today it easily pulled ahead of James Cameron's 3D epic — with plenty of gas left in the tank to push totals higher with each additional ticket sold.

It's the latest in a laundry list of box office records the film has set. The new Star Wars has been the fastest film to hit the $100 million mark (and every subsequent hundred-million increment since), the biggest domestic December opening, and the biggest first, second, and third domestic box office weekends in history. It's even set records you probably didn't know existed, like the highest per-theater average for a major release, and biggest New Year's Day. It's basically been a movie theater event the likes of which we haven't seen in years — if not decades — so much so that has posted a thank you note to fans. The irony is that it's also setting expectations that no future Star Wars film is likely to match, but with the bar raised so incredibly high we imagine Disney and Lucasfilm are perfectly okay with that.

This movie is setting records you probably didn't even know existed

Avatar still holds the top spot on the all-time worldwide list with $2.8 billion, and though The Force Awakens is gaining ground it's not clear whether it will ultimately triumph on the global stage the way it has in North America. The movie recently overtook Avengers: Age of Ultron for sixth place globally with $1.5 billion, and with the film opening in China on Saturday there's still plenty of room to grow. However, over the course of its record-setting run over 72 percent of Avatar's grosses came from international markets, raking in over a staggering $2 billion. The Force Awakens currently sits around just $800 million in international box-office, an impressive amount to be sure, but far shy of the totals needed to dethrone Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide.

8:08PM: Updated with additional box office records and note.