“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was expected to break one of the grandest box-office records on Wednesday, by surpassing “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing film domestically, not adjusted for inflation.
After earning $8 million Tuesday for a North American total of $758.2 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was poised to overtake James Cameron’s 2009 science-fiction feature, which reached $760.5 million in 238 days of release. Wednesday’s North American totals were expected to push director and co-writer J.J. Abrams’ film, the much-anticipated seventh chapter in the Star Wars franchise, past the “Avatar” record in 20 days.
“Avatar” still far outstrips it worldwide, with $2.788 billion total as opposed to $1.549 billion for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as of Tuesday. The new film is now at No. 4 on the global chart, still behind 1997’s “Titanic” ($2.187 billion) and last year’s “Jurassic World” ($1.669 billion). It opens in the massive film market of China on Saturday, however, which should substantially increase its take.
Adjusted for ticket-price inflation, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is prepared to pass “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for the No. 20 spot. That 1981 adventure — also starring Harrison Ford — scored nearly $248.2 million, the equivalent of $762.2 million today, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Next up the list is “The Sting,” which earned $156 million in 1973, or roughly $767.5 million in today’s dollars.