New 'Star Wars' film shatters North American box office record

Wed Jan 6, 2016 8:43pm EST
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(Reuters) - Blockbuster movie "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has become the highest grossing film of all time in the United States and Canada, Walt Disney Co said, and crossed the $800 million mark at overseas box offices on Tuesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Disney said that domestic ticket sales for the "Star Wars" movie had reached $758.2 million through Tuesday, and would top the record of $760.5 million set by the 2009 release of "Avatar" on Wednesday.

"The Force Awakens" has taken in $1.5 billion so far globally, and is already the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time after just three weeks in release, Disney said.

To beat the global record haul of $2.8 billion for "Avatar," "The Force Awakens" must play well in China, where it opens on Saturday, box office analysts have said.

"The Force Awakens," the seventh movie in the 40-year-old franchise, opened at theaters in much of the world on Dec. 16 after a mammoth marketing campaign and glowing reviews.

It reunites original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as well as introducing new characters who are expected to develop the sci-fi saga through at least three more new movies.

Creator George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney in 2012 for $4.05 billion.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Jill Serjeant in New York; Additional reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Rigby)

People dressed as the fictional band Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes stand before the first showing of the movie "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, December 17, 2015.    REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni