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'Star Wars: Force Awakens' Becomes Highest Grossing Domestic Release of All-Time

by Brad Brevet
 

 
January 7, 2016

With an updated gross of $764.4 million thru Wednesday, Jan. 7, Star Wars: the Force Awakens is officially the highest grossing film of all time in the domestic market. It took a mere 20 days for the film to surpass the previous record of $760.5M held by Avatar, which not only took a total of 318 days to achieve, but was spread across two releases.

When adjusted for inflation Force Awakens still has a long, long way to go to top Gone with the Wind's $1.73 billion, but it has moved to 20th position on the chart, just ahead of Raiders of the Lost Ark bringing to light another milestone.

Harrison Ford now tops the BoxOfficeMojo people index, surpassing longtime chart topper and fellow Star Wars alum, Samuel L. Jackson. The domestic box office take for Ford's films before adjusting for inflation totals a whopping $4.69 billion, topping Jackson by $73 million. Adjusted for inflation, Ford has no competition as his total reaches $9.36 billion, over $2.2 billion more than Tom Hanks in second place.

While Force Awakens' record breaking accomplishment is worthy of note, it's just the beginning. By the end of this coming weekend the record will be an afterthought as The Force Awakens will become the only film to cross $800 million domestically. From there the conversation turns to its continuing international prospects.

Ever since its record-shattering opening weekend the question of whether The Force Awakens would top Avatar domestically was more a matter of "When?" than "If?" A well-timed release, the proliferation of IMAX screens and rising ticket prices certainly helped matters, but now attention turns to the international and global box office numbers. International numbers for Star Wars are relatively even with domestic totals so far, which is saying something when compared to the likes of worldwide chart toppers such as Avatar, Titanic and Jurassic World, all of which saw over 60% of their worldwide total come from overseas markets. A whopping 72.7% of Avatar's number came from oveseas.

In fact, if you look at the top 25 films on the worldwide chart, Force Awakens is one of only six films with less than 60% of their overall worldwide gross coming from international territories. Also interesting is one of the closest films to matching Force Awakens in this regard is Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace with a 46.2/53.8 domestic to international split. The only film in the top 25 to generate more domestically than it did internationally is The Dark Knight.

At this point, it's difficult to determine just how big it will go, most of all because it has yet to release in China where Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the Force aren't exactly known quantities. The original trilogy was screened in China for the first time just last June while the prequel films generated a combined $18.7 million upon their release in China. Force Awakens will obviously do better than that upon its release this Saturday, Jan. 9, but will it be able to match the $228 million earned by Jurassic World or the $240 million brought in by Avengers: Age of Ultron?

The film's global box office currently stands at $1.57 billion and $2 billion seems likely at this point, but if it wants to threaten Titanic's $2.186 billion for that second spot on the worldwide chart it's going to need some help. As for Avatar's $2.78 billion... it seems well out of reach at this point.

Here's a look at the current top ten, all-time worldwide earners (not adjusted for inflation). You can find the full chart here.

  • Avatar - $2.788 billion
  • Titanic - $2.186 billion
  • Jurassic World - $1.669 billion
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - $1.576 billion
  • Marvel's The Avengers - $1.519 billion
  • Furious 7 - $1.515 billion
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1.405 billion
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - $1.341 billion
  • Frozen - $1.276 billion
  • Iron Man 3 - $1.215 billion

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.



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