Avatar passes $1 billion, closes on Titanic's record

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

James Cameron's 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar again topped the box office, broke another record over the New Year's weekend and is closing in on Cameron's Titanic as the top-grossing movie of all time.

The movie took in an estimated $68.3 million domestically in the three days beginning Friday, setting a record for a film in its third weekend of release, distributor 20th Century Fox told The Hollywood Reporter, beating the record of $45 million that was set by Spider-Man in 2002.

After 17 days, Avatar has grossed $352.1 million in the U.S. and Canada, placing it at number 15 among all movies in terms of ticket sales.

Worldwide, Avatar has now taken in more than $1 billion, joining only four other films: Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Dark Knight

Here's what The Hollywood Reporter said:

Cameron's 1997 drama "Titanic," the biggest film of all time before accounting for inflation, earned $601 million [domestically], followed by 2008's "The Dark Knight" with $533 million. "Star Wars" currently holds the No. 3 berth with $461 million. ...

Even "Titanic" could be threatened. When ticket-price inflation is included, that film had earned $241 million after 17 days, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

Sherlock Holmes, meanwhile, placed second on New Year's weekend with an estimated $38.4 million domestically, for a 10-day total of $140.7 million.

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