LOS ANGELES • Having vanquished Titanic (1997) and Jurassic World (2015), Star Wars: The Force Awakens has set its sights on Avatar (2009).
The space opera sequel is moving up the all-time domestic box-office charts at a record clip and now is poised to overtake those pointy-eared blue aliens as the top- grossing film in history.
Avatar earned US$760.5 million during its stateside run and The Force Awakens has generated US$740.4 million (S$1.05 billion) domestically after picking up US$88.3 million over New Year's weekend. It should take the crown from Avatar early next week.
Globally, it ranks as the sixth highest-grossing film in history, having earned US$1.5 billion worldwide. It should surpass Furious 7 (2015) and Marvel's The Avengers (2012) to become the fourth-biggest film in history.
It will get a big shot in the arm next week after it premieres on Saturday in China, the world's second-biggest market for film. Depending on how enthusiastically it is received there, it could shoot past Avatar's record US$2.8-billion global haul.
Even as it commanded the bulk of box-office revenues, a few films managed to profit from the holiday season.
Paramount's Daddy's Home, a comedy about a nerdy stepfather who finds himself outshone by his wife's first husband, picked up US$29 million in its second weekend, driving its domestic total to US$93.7 million.
The Weinstein Company did relatively well after moving up the wide release of The Hateful Eight by a week. The revisionist western from Quentin Tarantino racked up US$16.2 million to finish in third place.
Universal's Sisters, a Tina Fey and Amy Poehler pairing, continued to show impressive endurance, snagging fourth place with US$12.6 million. It has made US$61.7 million in three weeks of release.
Fox's Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip added US$11.8 million to its US$67.4 million in receipts to round out the top five.