Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t exactly a dark horse when it opened in theaters, but the size and speed of its success have still been astounding. Case in point: On Wednesday, just 20 days after its release, the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise topped Avatar to become the all-time highest-grossing film at the domestic box office, according to Deadline.
Topping Avatar is impressive in itself — the film has been holding competition at bay for almost six years — but doing it in less than three weeks is even more so. By comparison, Avatar took 318 days (including a special re-release in the summer of 2010) to reach its now-broken record of $760.6 million. With The Force Awakens still early in its theatrical run, it’s hard to believe just how high its numbers will potentially climb.
As Deadline points out, The Force Awakens has had a few notable advantages compared to Avatar, though. James Cameron’s 2009 film came at a time in which there were fewer 3D and digital screens, whereas Episode VII has had the benefit of such technology, not to mention higher ticket prices. Still, that shouldn’t take away from the J.J. Abrams film: The Force Awakens has been so well-received that a whopping 42 percent of moviegoers said they intended to see the flick in theaters again, according to a survey by Fandango.
Episode VII has been leaving a bevy of broken records in its wake, even in the days prior to its release. The film has done everything from reach new ticket pre-sale milestones to have the biggest preview and opening day in U.S. box office history.
It remains to be seen how long The Force Awakens can maintain its massive momentum, but its performance so far has been out of this galaxy.