Box Office: 'Star Wars: Force Awakens' Tops 'Avatar' to Become No. 1 Film of All Time in North America

Star Wars and Avatar split - H 2016
Courtesy of Disney; Twentieth Century Fox

J.J. Abrams' record-shattering blockbuster achieved the historic milestone Wednesday after only 20 days in release. Globally, 'Force Awakens' is a long way from matching the $2.78 billion earned by 'Avatar.'

It's official: J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the highest-grossing film of all time in North America, not accounting for inflation.

On Wednesday, the Disney and Lucasfilm mega-blockbuster overtook the $760.5 million earned by James Cameron's Avatar. Force Awakens — which grossed $6.2 million for the day for a domestic total of $764.4 million — achieved the milestone in only 20 days in release, a remarkable feat.

Released in December 2009, Avatar grossed nearly $750 million in its original, seven-month run, plus another $10 million-plus when it was rereleased in theaters.

Thanks to Force Awakens, domestic revenue for 2015 hit a record $11 billion at the last minute. The movie has broken numerous records, including biggest domestic opening ($247.9 million), biggest global debut ($529 million), fastest film to reach $100 million (24 hours), $200 million (three days), $300 million (five days), $400 million (eight days), $500 million (10 days), $600 million (12 days), and $700 (16 days).

Other domestic records include biggest second weekend of all time ($149.2 million), biggest third weekend ($90.2 million), biggest Thursday preview gross ($57 million), biggest Christmas Day ($49.3 million), biggest New Year's Day ($34.4 million), highest location average for a wide debut ($59,982) and biggest opening week ($390.9 million).

Globally, Force Awakens has a long way to go before eclipsing the $2.78 billion earned worldwide by Avatar, even as it does staggering business. Through Wednesday, its worldwide tally is $1.58 billion — but that doesn't include China, where Force Awakens lands on Jan. 9.

Overseas on Wednesday, Force Awakens earned $13.1 million to cross the $800 million mark with a total $812.2 million.

Many box-office observers suggest the Star Wars reboot will ultimately gross $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion worldwide, passing up Cameron's Titanic ($2.19 billion) to become the No. 2 film of all time, not accounting for inflation. Already, it's at No. 4.

Only two films have earned $700 million or more in North America: Avatar and Force Awakens.

"Star Wars fans have kept a galaxy far, far away alive for close to 40 years. Without them, there is no Star Wars. That’s why we are humbled and grateful to announce that, thanks to fans new and old, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now the highest grossing film of all-time at the domestic box office, surpassing Avatar’s $760.50 million record in just 20 days," Star said in a message posted on its website.

"We are proud of these records, but know that they would not be possible without fans’ enthusiasm and continued support. We feel it here and it drives us every day, and it will continue to in the very bright future of Star Wars. There has indeed been an awakening — and it’s all thanks to you," the message continued.

Jan. 7, 10:30 a.m. Updated with final Wednesday numbers.