Roundup: J.J. Abrams addresses The Force Awakens’ throwback feel, Roger Guyett on VFX

tfa-rs-kylo-vader-smJ.J. Abrams discusses The Force Awakens with The Hollywood Reporter, including the criticisms that the film is too similar to A New Hope, and why it was important “to go backwards to go forwards.”

Today, Abrams was at TCA for Hulu’s 11.22.63, where he told Entertainment Weekly not to expect an extended edition of The Force Awakens and addressed the lack of Rey toys.

→ At Studio Daily, ILM VFX Supervisor Roger Guyett talks about the film’s visual effects, including the Falcon on Jakku.

The Force Awakens has opened strong in China with a record $33M Saturday opening. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there’s some real box office competition this weekend thanks to The Revenant. Who wins? Either way, Domhnall Gleeson.

→ Speaking of actors, The Force Awakens has let Harrison Ford reclaim the title of highest grossing actor of all time from fellow Star Wars alumni Samuel L. Jackson.

→ Business Insider profiles Joonas Suotamo, who doubled for Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.

→ Award watch: John Boyega is a nominee for the BAFTA’s Rising Star award. TFA itself is up for BAFTAs in production design, sound, music and visual effects. The film is also up for a Costume Designers Guild Award.

The Force Awakens dethrones Avatar as domestic box office champ

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We knew it was coming, and now it’s nearly official: At some point today, The Force Awakens outearned James Cameron’s Avatar as the high-grossing film in North America. (Official numbers will come tomorrow, but StarWars.com is already thanking fans.)

Avatar made $760.5 million domestically in 2009, but it still remains the global earning champ. The Force Awakens is currently in 4th place there, and while it has an excellent chance of beating out Jurassic World for third, it’ll need to top both Titanic and Avatar to make it to #1.

The Force Awakens continues to smash box office records

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The Force Awakens has broken yet more records with an $88.3 million domestic haul for New Year’s weekend, bringing the totals to $740.3M domestic and $1.51 billion globally.

This week it notably beat Avatar as the fastest film to make it to $700M – it took 16 days, as opposed to Avatar‘s 72. The James Cameron film made $760.8M domestic in 2009, and it gets to hang on to being the top-grossing film of all time in North America for (maybe) a day or two. The Force Awakens is currently #6 in all time worldwide grosses.

The Force Awakens continues to smash box office records

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The Force Awakens has now become the fastest movie to pass the $300 million mark domestically, in addition to breaking records for Monday and Tuesday. It’s earned a total $324M in North America, and $689.4M worldwide through Tuesday. Is any record safe? The film is expected to handily win a second weekend, but it still has a ways to go to beat Avatar as the highest grossing film of all-time. Still, if anyone can do it…