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The new Star Wars movie is on course to smash the record for the biggest box office debut weekend in North America, Disney has said.

Ticket sales are estimated to have made $238 million – the previous record was held by Jurassic World, which took $208.8 million in June.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taken an estimated $517 million globally in three days.

That is just behind Jurassic World, which broke the record with $525 million.

Jurassic World had the advantage of opening in China on the same weekend it opened everywhere else, whereas The Force Awakens will not debut in the world’s second biggest cinema-going territory until January 9.Star Wars The Force Awakens box office record

The Force Awakens also set a new opening night record in the US and Canada.

It made $57 million on Thursday night – beating the previous record of $43.5 million held by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement: “Our sole focus has been creating a film that delivers that one-of-a-kind Star Wars experience, and director JJ Abrams, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and the Lucasfilm team have outdone themselves.”

The new Star Wars movie also set a new opening day box office record in the UK and Ireland.

Analysts say the space saga could become the biggest selling movie of all time.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens returns to “a galaxy far, far away” some 30 years on from the action of 1983’s Return of the Jedi.