Entertainment & Arts

Star Wars breaks North America box office record

Scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens Image copyright AP
Image caption Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh instalment of the space saga

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has unseated Avatar to become the top-earning film of all time in North America, Disney says.

The studio claims the JJ Abrams film has passed the $760.5m (£520m) taken by Avatar over its lifetime, but has yet to give official figures.

Last month, Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the fastest film to take $1bn (£674m) at the global box office.

But Avatar - released in 2009 - still holds the global record.

The James Cameron film took $2.8bn (£1.9bn) across the world, as compared to The Force Awakens worldwide earnings of $1.6bn (£1.09bn) to date.

The Force Awakens is already the fourth highest-grossing global movie of all time after just three weeks in release, but analysts believe it will have to play well in China, where it opens on Saturday (9 January), to beat the record set by Avatar.

Disney thanked its fans for helping it clinch the domestic record, saying that without them "there is no Star Wars."

"There has indeed been an awakening - and it's all thanks to you," Disney said, in a statement released on Wednesday.

The seventh instalment in the Star Wars series returns the action to "a galaxy far, far away" some 30 years on from the action of 1983's Return of the Jedi.

The hotly-anticipated film, which reunites the original trilogy stars, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill alongside newcomers including Britons Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, scored the biggest US Christmas Day box office takings in history with $49.3m.

It also smashed the record for the biggest box office debut weekend globally - when it opened on 16 December, in most countries - with ticket sales of $529m.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
2. Avatar (2009)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Jurassic World (2015)
5. Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

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