New ‘Star Wars’ film hits $1B at box office: Disney

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LOS ANGELES: The new Star Wars film has passed the $1 billion mark in global box office sales in record time, according to Disney, as fans of the space epic pack theaters around the world.

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Twelve days after it first hit screens, The Force Awakens has posted an estimated $545 million in ticket sales in North America and $546 million internationally, a statement said.

The previous record was held by Jurassic World, which took 13 days to reach the milestone.

The highly anticipated seventh installment in the blockbuster saga has received mostly glowing reviews, and is being credited with breathing new life into the juggernaut Hollywood franchise launched by creator George Lucas in 1977.

In North America, Disney said The Force Awakens is already the second biggest grossing movie of 2015 and the number five of all time, posting record Christmas Day box office sales of $49.3 million.

Over the three-day Christmas holiday weekend, Star Wars snapped up $153.5 million in estimated North American box office sales, which analysts at the Rentrak research company said was the biggest second weekend of all time.

That best that Jurassic World garnered was $106.6 million in its second weekend back in June, the statement said.

International results exclude China, where the film premiered on Sunday but will only open to the public on January 9, according to Disney.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens posted an estimated $133.3 million in its second weekend of overseas release from all territories worldwide except China representing approximately 75 percent of the international marketplace,” it said.

Disney highlighted the movie’s performance in a number of overseas markets, including the United Kingdom where it said estimated cumulated ticket sales have so far reached $97.2 million in 10 days.

Australia was the stand-out in the Asia-Pacific region, it said, with The Force Awakens earning an estimated $35.7 million to date, making it the no. 2 Disney release of all time in the country, just behind The Avengers.

The Force Awakens picks up the intergalactic story of good versus evil 30 years on from The Return of the Jedi, the last episode of the original trilogy.

The trio of heroes who appeared in the first of the blockbusters in 1977—smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), leader of the rebel alliance, and her twin brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)—are all back and played by the actors that Star Wars first made famous.

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