The 24th film in the superspy franchise, starring Daniel Craig, raked in $141 million (£94 million) at cinemas across Britain by 31 December (15), outdoing the sci-fi sequel by $11 million (£7 million).

The Star Wars movie's box office receipts of $130 million (£87.1 million) landed it in second place on the end-of-year chart, ahead of Jurassic World in third, with $96.7 million (£64.5 million), and Avengers: Age of Ultron in fourth, with $72.4 million (£48.3 million). The top five was rounded out by animated comedy Minions, with $71.7 million (£47.8 million).

British cinemas experienced a record-breaking 12 months in 2015, bringing in a staggering £1.3 billion in ticket sales, smashing the previous high of £1.1 billion set in 2012.

Lucy Jones, Executive Director at industry analyst Rentrak, says, "In our previous review of the disappointing 2014 box-office (down 3 per cent versus 2013), we stated that cinema is a product-driven market. The audience will turn out for the films that grab their attention but they need a compelling reason to go, given competition from home entertainment services like Netflix and Amazon, and the cost-of-living squeeze on household finances.

"This was emphatically proven by the record-breaking results seen in 2015 - which delivered not only the biggest box-office total of all time, but also Star Wars: The Force Awakens, now poised to take the crown for the biggest film of all time."