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Star Wars: The Force Awakens shatters North American box office records

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has shattered North American box office records by scoring the biggest opening of all time with a $238 million haul.

The Disney sci-fi epic, featuring original franchise stars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher and newcomers Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, skyrocketed to number one, easily eclipsing the $209 million debut previously set by Jurassic World in June (15).

The huge figure makes it the highest-grossing movie debut in the U.S. and Canada since box office records began, not accounting for inflation, while it also sets a new record for a December opening, more than doubling the $84.6 million made by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012.

The gross helps to boost The Force Awakens' global grab to $517 million after setting new opening weekend records in the U.K., Germany, Australia and Russia, among 14 other countries.

"Our sole focus has been creating a film that delivers that one-of-a-kind Star Wars experience, and director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and the Lucasfilm team have outdone themselves," reads a press release from Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios. "To all of the fans around the world who not only came out in Force to make this such an exciting and astronomical debut, but who treated this film as their own and helped preserve the experience for their fellow fans by not spoiling it - thank you, we do."

Meanwhile, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is a distant new entry in the North American chart at number two with $14.4 million, while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Sisters comedy takes the third spot with $13.4 million.

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