Entertainment

Star Wars: The Force Awakens races towards being the year's biggest movie in Australia

In just 11 days, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on the verge of being the highest-grossing movie in Australian cinemas this year.

Star Wars: fastest movie to reach $1 billion

The force is with the latest 'Star Wars' instalment at the box office, crossing the $1 billion mark in ticket sales faster than any other movie in history.

Director J. J. Abrams' reboot of the classic sci-fi series had taken $50.3 million by Sunday night.

That left it just $2.4 million – a day or two's ticket sales – behind the $52.7 million taken by Jurassic World over 10 weeks earlier this year.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) in <i>Star Wars: The Force Awakens.</i>
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photo: David James

The two movies have joined only a select group of releases to take more than $50 million at the Australian box office headed by Avatar ($115.6 million), Titanic ($57.6 million), The Avengers ($53.2 million), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($52.6 million) and Shrek 2 ($50.3 million).

Over the weekend, The Force Awakens dominated cinemas, showing on 832 of the country's 2000-odd screens and taking $11.8 million.

Its nearest rivals all officially opened later on Boxing Day – the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy's Home ($2.8 million on 233 screens), Pixar's The Good Dinosaur ($2 million on 387 screens), the animated sequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip ($1.6 million on 340 screens) and the Jennifer Lawrence-Bradley Cooper bio-pic Joy ($1.4 million on 275 screens).

Despite the record wide release, The Force Awakens had a higher screen average ($14,180) on its second weekend than all the new movies.

The Australian results, where it set records for highest opening day, weekend and week take, reflect the movie's international success where it has taken $US1 billion in just 12 days.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Finn (John Boyega), and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: David James..? 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved. Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Finn (John Boyega), and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: David James..?? 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) confronts Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photo: Lucasfilm

The question now is how high it can go.

When Avatar set its remarkable record, it opened just before Christmas in 2009 then stayed on top of the box office for eight successive weekends. It was still selling tickets towards the end of May.

While that is still a galaxy far, far away in box office terms, it's clear that Star Wars will keep dominating cinemas over the holidays.