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'Star Wars' knocks 'Jurassic World' out of the park in debut weekend earnings

Globally, “Jurassic World” still holds the weekend box office record, but “Star Wars” was the biggest North American debut ever.

Guess what movie Lewis and Abby Berry saw at the United Artists theater on Columbus Boulevard last Thursday?
Guess what movie Lewis and Abby Berry saw at the United Artists theater on Columbus Boulevard last Thursday?Read moreSteven M. Falk / Staff Photographer

To say that the force is strong with this one is an understatement. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" brought in a galactic $238 million over the weekend, making it the biggest North American debut of all time according to studio estimates.

The Walt Disney Co. earnings destroy the previous opening record set by Universal's "Jurassic World," which drew $208.8 million this summer.

Internationally, the film brought in $279 million, bringing its global gross to $517 million - second only to "Jurassic World's" global bow of $525 million. But the dinosaurs had the added benefit of China - "Star Wars" won't open there until Jan. 9.

Males overwhelmingly drove ticket sales, comprising 58 percent of the audience.

The film also drew mainly adults - 71 percent of the audience. Teens accounted for only 9 percent, but those numbers may go up as holiday vacations kick in.

IMAX, 3-D and other premium large-format screens helped drive the massive earnings. Nearly half of moviegoers - 47 percent - chose to see the film on the generally pricier screens.

Other movies opened this weekend too, including "Sisters," starring Upper Darby's Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The R-rated comedy earned an estimated $13.4 million off an audience that was 79 percent female - a solid indicator that the counterprogramming against "Star Wars" was a wise choice.

"Sisters" opened third, and in between was Fox's animated "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip," with $14.4 million.

According to exit polls, 70 percent of audiences were comprised of families. The film also played to a rather diverse audience of 22 percent Hispanics and 19 percent African-Americans.

Rounding out the top five were "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," with $5.7 million and "Creed," with $5.1 million.

Prison break for 'Housewives'' star

One of New Jersey's "Real Housewives" is set to be freed from the big house just before Christmas.

Teresa Giudice will be released Wednesday from the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut, her lawyer said. She will then head home to her husband, Joe, and their four daughters in Montville, N.J., where she will be on home confinement until Feb. 5.

Her attorney, James Leonard Jr., said his client is upbeat and looking forward to her release. Leonard said he plans to drive Giudice home from prison, where she'd been since January, but he declined to provide more details.

Giudice and her husband pleaded guilty last year to bankruptcy fraud - hiding assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitting phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans.

Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes. He's expected to start his 41-month sentence in March at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix.

A federal judge staggered the couple's sentences in deference to their children. Joe Giudice is not an American citizen and could be deported to Italy when he's released.

Shock jock arrest

A radio shock jock who hosted "Opie and Anthony" is facing charges over a fight with a woman at his Hempstead, N.Y., home.

Nassau County police say Anthony Cumia was arrested Saturday after the 26-year-old woman contacted authorities.

He was arraigned yesterday on a charge of second-degree strangulation. A judge released him without setting bail but ordered him to stay away from the woman. His attorney said Cumia, expected back in court next month, "emphatically denies the allegations."

Cumia was fired by satellite radio company SiriusXM last year after he took to Twitter to complained in an obscenity-laced Twitter post that a woman had punched him in the face.