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'Star Wars' smashes box office record

The latest "Star Wars" movie has set a record for the highest-grossing opening weekend at the box office, raking in $238 million in North America. Globally "The Force Awakens" made over half a billion dollars.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" surpassed the previous record by over $19 million (16.6 million euros) industry monitor Rentrak said Sunday. The old record was set by "Jurassic World" only a few months ago.

The latest entry in the "Star Wars" saga already

broke the record for biggest opening day at the box office

after its Thursday premiere.

Globally, "The Force Awakens" has taken in $517 million, according to estimates made by its production company, Walt Disney Co.

Worldwide ticket sales, however, place "Star Wars" behind "Jurassic World," which made $524.9 million globally in its first weekend.

"The Force Awakens" has been one of the most hyped films of the year, with many fans seeing it as a return to form for the franchise after three financially successful but critically divisive prequels directed by series creator George Lucas.

The

long-awaited sequel

is being screened in 4,134 theaters in the United States and Canada, according to Rentrak.

However, the sci-fi blockbuster still has a long way to the top of all-time box office sales, with James Cameron's "Avatar" holding the record at $2.78 billion.

"Titanic," another Cameron movie, is placed second with $2.18 billion.

dj/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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