“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has crushed box-office records since its December 18 release, taking only 12 days to gross $1 billion and only 20 to surpass “Avatar” as the highest-grossing domestic film ($934.96 million to “Avatar’s” $760.51 million, unadjusted for inflation).
But even with its numerous and impressive records, after 16 weekends, “The Force Awakens” won’t pass “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film worldwide.
In fact, it sits third behind James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Cameron’s “Titanic” in global grosses.
“The Force Awakens” has earned $2.07 billion worldwide compared to “Avatar’s” $2.79 billion and “Titanic’s” $2.19 billion.
While “The Force Awakens” dominated the US box office, it didn’t rake in nearly as much money in foreign markets. Where “The Force Awakens” made $1.13 billion outside of the US, “Avatar” earned a staggering $2.03 billion.
Different factors, including theater runs and cultural significance, contributed to how the box-office records played out for the films. In China, the largest movie market behind the US, “The Force Awakens” has pulled in $125.4 million, but that is significantly less than the $204.1 million “Avatar” earned during its run.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore, told Vulture that “Star Wars” resonates more with American audiences.
“‘Star Wars’ is such a definitively American piece of culture, and so it resonated particularly well in North America, setting a record that should stand for a long period of time,” Dergarabedian said. “But China did not provide the boost or muscle to put it over the top worldwide.”
The impact of “The Force Awakens” can’t be denied, but it’s going to have to settle for not quite winning at everything.