Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the top-earning movie of all time in North America after unseating Avatar, Disney says.
According to Disney studio, the JJ Abrams movie has passed the $760.5 million taken by Avatar over its lifetime, but has yet to give official figures.
In December 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the fastest film to take $1 billion at the global box office.
However, Avatar, which was released in 2009, still holds the global record.
Avatar took $2.8 billion across the world, as compared to The Force Awakens worldwide earnings of $1.6 billion to date.
The Force Awakens is already the fourth highest-grossing global movie of all time after just three weeks in release, but analysts believe it will have to play well in China, where it opens on January 9, to beat the record set by Avatar.
Disney thanked its fans for helping it clinch the domestic record, saying that without them “there is no Star Wars.”
“There has indeed been an awakening – and it’s all thanks to you,” Disney said, in a statement released on January 6.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens returns the action to “a galaxy far, far away” some 30 years on from the action of 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
The movie, which reunites the original trilogy stars, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill alongside newcomers including Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, scored the biggest US Christmas Day box office takings in history with $49.3 million.
The Force Awakens also smashed the record for the biggest box office debut weekend globally – when it opened on December 16, in most countries – with ticket sales of $529 million.
James Cameron and Cirque Du Soleil have announced a touring arena show based on the director’s 3D blockbuster Avatar.
Cirque Du Soleil’s Avatar show is expected to begin a global tour in late 2015, before the release of three Avatar sequels currently in pre-production.
2009’s Avatar is Hollywood’s highest grossing film ever.
James Cameron previously worked with Cirque Du Soleil in 2012, executive producing its 3D film Worlds Away.
Cirque Du Soleil’s Avatar show is expected to begin a global tour in late 2015, before the release of three Avatar sequels currently in pre-production
“Over the years, I have discovered the extraordinary talents and imaginations of both the artists and the creative forces behind Cirque du Soleil,” he said.
“I know we share the common goal of bringing audiences to another level of entertainment experiences. I look forward to doing just that on this project.”
James Cameron and Cirque Du Soleil president and CEO Daniel Lamarre announced their plans at the C2MTL-Commerce and Creativity Conference in Montreal.
Daniel Lamarre said he was “thrilled” the circus company was getting to “explore the very inspirational Avatar realm for the live stage”.
The live show is going to be a co-production between James Cameron and Jon Landau’s company Lightstorm Entertainment, Cirque Du Soleil and Twentieth Century Fox which financed and distributed Avatar.
“Avatar remains a phenomenon that continues to inspire people around the globe, and combining it with the live event ingenuity of Cirque de Soleil is a perfect synthesis of imagination and talent,” said the film company’s chief Jim Gianopulos.
Avatar has made $2.7 billion worldwide and been awarded three Oscars, two BAFTAs and two Golden Globes.
The three sequels are expected to hit cinemas between December 2016 and December 2018 and will start filming later this year.
It is the first time Cirque Du Soleil has used a film for inspiration, although it has produced hit shows using the music of Michael Jackson and The Beatles.
Director James Cameron and the New Zealand government have announced that three sequels to the movie Avatar are to be made in New Zealand.
The move means at least NZ$500 million ($413 million) will be spent in New Zealand and hundreds of jobs created.
It came after the government increased film industry tax rebates up to 25% from the current 15%.
Avatar, which was also shot in New Zealand, was released in 2009 and went on to win three Oscars.
The 3D film is the highest grossing movie of all time.
Avatar, which was also shot in New Zealand, was released in 2009 and went on to win three Oscars
In a statement, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce described the move as “excellent news for the New Zealand screen industry”.
“The Avatar sequels will provide hundreds of jobs and thousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as well as jobs right across the economy,” he said.
Under the new rebate rules, the base will be raised to 20%, with another 5% available if producers meet specific criteria in terms of benefits to New Zealand.
The changes were aimed at both encouraging domestic production and “increasing the competitiveness of our incentives for international productions in the short to medium term”, a separate statement said.
New Zealand PM John Key called the Avatar announcement “a great Christmas present for those involved in making world-class movies”.
James Cameron said it was “quite a thrill to be officially saying that we’re bringing the Avatar films to New Zealand”.
James Cameron aimed to release the three movies yearly from late 2016.
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