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Culture

'Star Wars' earns $1 billion in record time

The latest installment in the "Star Wars" franchise continues to smash box office records. It's now the fastest movie to earn $1 billion worldwide.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" crossed the billion-dollar threshold (about 910.5 million euros) on Sunday after just 12 days in wide release, surpassing previous record holder "Jurassic World," which accomplished the feat in 13 days back in June.

"You almost have to rewrite all the record books for this movie," said Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst. "It's absolutely mind-blowing that 'Star Wars' could get to a billion dollars in 12 days, and it hasn't even opened in China, the second-biggest movie market in the world."

The film opens in China, an increasingly important source of revenue for Hollywood, on January 9. "Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy has said "we're hoping and anticipating that it will play very, very well there."

"Rogue One," the first standalone "Star Wars" feature expected to hit theaters next December, will feature Hong Kong martial arts actor Donnie Yen and Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen.

"They play wonderful characters, and certainly there are many mythologies inside Chinese literature that I know we can explore in the future and find ways in which we can integrate some of those stories into the 'Star Wars' universe," said Kennedy.

Record-breaking

"The Force Awakens" also saw the biggest Christmas Day box office in history, earning $49.3 million, after opening to a record-setting $238 million weekend in North America upon its debut on December 17.

The film, the first in planned sequel trilogy from The Walt Disney Co., earned $529 million worldwide on its opening weekend and set international opening-weekend records in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe. It also topped $100 million in IMAX screenings in 10 days, another record.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, the blockbuster sees the return of three actors from the original 1977 film: smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), leader of the rebel alliance, and her twin brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). It's set around 30 years after the events of the 1983 film "Return of the Jedi."

Also starring in "The Force Awakens" are Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong'o.

cmk/rf (AP, AFP)

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