This will be the answer to a trivia question some day: Name the only Star Wars movie to pass the $1 billion mark at the box office. Now don’t cry when I tell you that the answer – at least for the time being – is Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.
Thanks to the recent re-release in 3D, George Lucas’ first installment in his Prequel Trilogy crossed the $1 billion line at the worldwide box. THR reports that it is the first film in the six-film franchise to achieve that lofty mark. It’s also $1.5M away from surpassing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight on the international box office charts. As if genre geeks weren’t already sobbing, that bit of news likely will push them right over the edge.
The trade notes that Phantom Menace has earned $74.3M in additional ticket sales since opening for its recent run, with $35.8M of that coming from right here in the United States. Episode I also becomes the 11th film to break into the prestigious billion-dollar club. James Cameron still has the top two all-time box office earners in Titanic ($1.8B) and Avatar ($2.7B), though the former will add more dollars to its coffers when it floats out its re-release in April.
And even though Lucas plans to release all six of his Star Wars films in 3D, Phantom Menace likely won’t have to look over its shoulder. The next-highest grossing sequel is Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and it sits at a “measly” $848 million, so the chances of it catching Menace are slim to none.
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