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New ‘Star Wars’ film to set all-time N. American box office record

Image: Cast member Daisy Ridley arrives at the China Premiere of the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Shanghai, China, December 27, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song

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 $758.2 million through Tuesday, and will top the record of $760.5 million set by the 2009 release of “Avatar” on Wednesday, Disney said.

“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 reunit’s 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; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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