Final 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' box office: No match for James Cameron
On May 30, Star Wars: The Force Awakens officially completed its run in North American theaters after 168 days. It was very lucrative! Not only did the JJ Abrams-directed sequel finish with a record-breaking $936 million on the continent, it racked up a whopping $2.066 billion worldwide. That's enough for a No. 3 finish on the all-time global box office chart, after Titanic ($2.187 billion) and Avatar ($2.788 billion).
In fairness: both of those James Cameron blockbusters enjoyed subsequent re-releases that added to their respective totals. Subtract the money made during said re-releases, and Titanic is actually in third place with $1.84 billion and Avatar...well, Avatar remains in first with $2.755 billion (it only made $33.2 million in its 2010 reissue).
Then again! Adjusting for inflation, the positions revert back to their original ranking, with Avatar coming in at $3.07 billion in initial release and Titanic coming in at $2.74 billion in initial release -- both far ahead of The Force Awakens' $2.066 billion. As explained by box office experts I interviewed back in January, much of that discrepancy can be chalked up to Star Wars' less-potent appeal in foreign countries not familiar with the mythology established over the last six films (namely China), a more crowded overseas marketplace, and the power of Avatar's marketing campaign, which promised -- in the words of Box Office Media analyst Daniel Loria -- a "new frontier of cinematic experience" to moviegoers, among other factors.
Speaking of re-releases, one might reasonably expect Disney to push The Force Awakens back into theaters in advance of Rogue One's December release, adding a few million more to its already-overflowing coffers. Just don't expect it to come anywhere near Avatar's lofty perch.