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'The Force Awakens,' A Holiday Gift for Disney

FILE - Over 100 JAKKS BIG-FIGS Stormtrooper action figures are seen as a part of an installation at The Americana at Brand for the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in Glendale, Calif., Dec. 17.

Star Wars:The Force Awakens may be set in a galaxy far, far away, but its Christmas Day record-breaking performance was an impressive Earth-bound gift for the Walt Disney Company that bought the film franchise from George Lucas' Lucasfilms in 2012.

The Force Awakens is now the champion of North American Christmas Day box office receipts with $49.3 million, overtaking the previous Christmas record of $24.6 million set by Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr. in 2009.

Worldwide, The Force Awakens has taken in an astronomical $1 billion, with almost half of that, $440.4 million, in the U.S.

The Force Awakens is in theaters when there are lots of other movie offerings -- Concussion starring Will Smith, Joy with Jennifer Lawrence, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight and The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio -- as the industry jockeys for upcoming Academy Awards nominations.

Disney is making room at its theme parks to include the robots, droids and other worldy creatures of the Star War films that came to life on movie screens in 1977.