New Star Wars film to set all-time North American box office record

Anthony Troli, dressed as Chewbacca, takes a selfie before a Star Wars themed wedding at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on Dec 17.
Anthony Troli, dressed as Chewbacca, takes a selfie before a Star Wars themed wedding at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on Dec 17.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Blockbuster movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens will pass Avatar on Wednesday to become the top-selling film of all time in the United States and Canada, Walt Disney Co said.

Domestic ticket sales for the Star Wars movie reached US$758.2 million (S$1.09 billion) through Tuesday, and will top the record of US$760.5 million set by the 2009 release of Avatar on Wednesday, Disney said.

The Force Awakens has taken in US$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 US$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 theatres 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 US$4.05 billion.