Yesterday, we reported that, despite its incredible success in such a short amount of time, there are still a few box office records that Star Wars: The Force Awakens hasn't broken yet. Today, we can cross one of those records off the list, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens surpassing Avatar's six year all-time domestic record of $760.5 million. While it took Avatar 314 days to amass $760.5 million, including a late summer special edition re-release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke that record in just 20 days.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has now earned $1.56 billion, which is the fourth-highest global gross ever, behind Jurassic World ($1.669 billion), Titanic ($2.186 billion) and Avatar ($2.788 billion). This global haul is even more impressive since director J.J. Abrams' adventure hasn't even opened in one of the world's largest markets yet, China, where it is set to debut on January 9. Another reason the numbers are so impressive is its theatrical rollout is nowhere near the biggest in history. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse still hold the record for the widest release ever, debuting in 4,468 theaters back in 2010. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has the 33rd widest opening ever, debuting in 4,134 theaters, a theater count lower than other 2015 blockbusters such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (4,175) and Minions (4,301).
Deadline reports that this new all-time domestic record can likely be attributed to the rise of 3D and the growth of digital screens, which was largely spawned by Avatar itself. The site reports that, since 2010, when Avatar was in the midst of its theatrical run, there has been a 168% increase of digital screens in North America, to 41,518, with 3D digital screens accounting for 39% (16,146) of that figure. Rentrak's PostTrak reports that 45% of all audiences watched The Force Awakens in RealD 3D, with 42% in 2D, and 12% in IMAX.
TFA still has a long way to go before its theatrical run is over, so it's certainly possible that it could shatter every major box office record before it leaves theaters. If the blockbuster meets its current $55.2 million projection for this coming weekend, it will have broken another one of Avatar's records, securing the highest fourth weekend record, which currently stands at $50.3 million. Avatar played in theaters for a whopping 46 weeks, 34 weeks in its standard release and 12 weeks in its special edition run. It still holds the records for the highest fourth weekend all the way through the highest 12th weekend.
With the impending release in China, it could be only a matter of time before Star Wars: The Force Awakens becomes the third movie ever to break $2 billion at the worldwide box office, a feat only accomplished by James Cameron's blockbusters Titanic ($2.1 billion) and Avatar ($2.7 billion). It's possible that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the first movie ever to crack $3 billion worldwide. If that happens, this one movie would represent 3/4 of Disney's $4 billion investment when it bought LucasFilm in 2012, with two more sequels and three spinoffs coming in the next four years. Do you think anything can stop Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office?