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(Film Frame/Disney/Copyright Lucasfilm 2015 via AP)

'Star Wars' Is Set For Another Milestone

Dow Jones Newswires

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is set to surpass "Avatar" this week as the highest-grossing movie of all time in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

After a gross of $88.3 million in its third weekend, the domestic total for Walt Disney Co.'s "The Force Awakens" stands at $740.3 million -- about $10 million shy of "Avatar's" gross in the U.S. and Canada.

The pacing of the two films couldn't be more different. "The Force Awakens" reached $700 million in a record 16 days, whereas "Avatar" did it in 72 days. Globally, "The Force Awakens" stands at $1.5 billion; "Avatar's" total world-wide gross was $2.8 billion.

The chances of "The Force Awakens" beating the "Avatar" global record depend in large part on its performance in China, where it opens next weekend. China is the world's second-largest box office, but the "Star Wars" brand isn't as well known there as it is in most countries.

Currently, the U.K. is the highest-grossing overseas market for "The Force Awakens," at $145 million, followed by Germany at $81.4 million and France at $67.1 million.

Of course, the "Star Wars" records don't account for inflation of ticket prices. When that is taken into account, "Gone With the Wind" and the original "Star Wars" are hard to beat, with $1.74 billion and $1.53 billion in domestic ticket sales, respectively. "The Force Awakens" is currently No. 23 in U.S. history when figures are adjusted for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.

In other box-office news, "Daddy's Home," from Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, continued to perform well, grossing $29 million in second place for a two-week total of $93.7 million. Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," released by Weinstein Co., expanded to nationwide release and collected $16.2 million in third place; it has grossed $29.6 million so far.

Many Christmas Day releases enjoyed healthy staying power thanks to holiday vacations: "Joy," "The Big Short" and "Concussion" all saw second-weekend grosses dip less than 40%.

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