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Even when accounting for inflation, Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on track to become the highest-grossing movie in the series — save for the first Star Wars, released in 1977.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, the blockbuster finished New Year’s Day with a domestic total of $686.4 million, besting the original North American runs of Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back ($679 million), Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith ($510.8 million) and Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones ($447.8 million). All grosses have been adjusted for inflation.
And sometime over New Year’s weekend, Force Awakens will leap past the original runs of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace ($730.4 million) and Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi ($697.3 million). Again, that’s adjusted.
George Lucas’ first Star Wars earned a massive $307.3 million domestically in its original run, or roughly $1.2 billion when accounting for inflation. (The pic was later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.)
Most of the six Star Wars films were re-released. Accounting for inflation, the first Star Wars grossed $1.5 billion domestically; Return of the Jedi‘s total take in North America was $810 million; Phantom Menace, north of $777 million; Empire Strikes Back, $745 million; and Attack of the Clones with $460 million.
Force Awakens‘ domestic haul will rise to $740 million or more by the end of Sunday. At this pace, the movie is widely expected to earn $850 million or more in North America.
When not accounting for inflation, Force Awakens is easily the top-grossing Star Wars title of all time, both domestically and worldwide. Through Friday, the film has taken in $1.39 billion globally, including $704.2 million overseas.
It’s virtually impossible to adjust international grosses for inflation. Unadjusted, Phantom Menace (1999) is the top earner among the previous six titles with $1.027 billion globally, including $474.5 million domestically and $552.2 million abroad, followed by Revenge of the Sith (2005) with $848.8 million ($380.3 million domestically, $468.5 million overseas) and the first Star Wars with $775.4 million ($461 million domestically, $314.4 million offshore).
Attack of the Clones (2002) topped out at $649.5 worldwide, ($310.8 million domestically, $338.7 million internationally). Return of the Jedi (1983) grossed $475.1 million all in ($309.3 million domestically, $165.8 million abroad), while the lifetime gross for The Empire Strikes Back (1980) is $538.4 million ($290.5 million domestically, $247.0 million overseas).
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