‘Avatar’ Tops $550 Million

on January 25, 2010 by Daniel Garris
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Fox's Avatar continued to soar at the box office this weekend with a sixth straight first place finish. James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster continues to hold extremely well as it was down only 18 percent from last weekend's three-day frame with a weekend gross of $34.94 million. Avatar set a new record for the largest sixth weekend gross of all-time (the previous record holder being James Cameron's Titanic), marking the fifth straight weekend the film has set a new all-time weekend record.

Avatar crossed the $550 million mark on Sunday and has now grossed an astonishing $551.74 million domestically in 38 days. That makes Avatar the second highest grossing film of all-time at the unadjusted domestic box office and places it $49.05 million behind Titanic for first place. Avatar is also on the brink of topping Titanic at the worldwide box office to become the all-time leader on that chart. Avatar has now broken into the top 25 on the all-time inflation adjusted domestic chart and will move into the top 20 before much longer.

Sony's Legion debuted in second place with $17.50 million. The modestly budgeted R-rated film from Screen Gems opened in line with pre-release expectations. Coming on the heels of Warner's The Book of Eli, Legion represented the second film with apocalyptic themes to perform well over the past two weeks. Screen Gems has a strong recent history of opening genre films to solid numbers (especially outside of the Summer and Holiday seasons) and clearly showcased that ability once again this weekend. Legion opened 15.5 percent stronger than Lionsgate's recent Daybreakers (which tumbled for a second straight weekend).

The Book of Eli slid 52 percent and one spot from last weekend to finish in third. The R-rated film starring Denzel Washington grossed $15.73 million over the weekend, which was $1.27 million lower than Sunday's studio estimate. The Book of Eli clearly took a hit from Sunday's NFL Conference Championships and from the direct competition from Legion throughout the weekend. The Book of Eli has still grossed a very respectable $60.74 million in 10 days, but will need to start holding up much better next weekend if it is to reach the $100 million milestone by the end of its run.

The Tooth Fairy opened in fourth place with $14.01 million. Fox's PG comedy starring Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd and Julie Andrews opened on the lower end of expectations. The Tooth Fairy opened with just $3.54 million on Friday, but did hold up well on Saturday and Sunday (even for a family film). At the same time, the modest start fell well short of the respective $24.40 million and $22.95 million starts of last year's Race to Witch Mountain and 2007's The Game Plan. The film's debut could call into question just how many more times Johnson can play against type in the near future.

Paramount's The Lovely Bones rounded out the top five for the weekend with $8.42 million. However, the Peter Jackson film was down 50 percent from last weekend's three-day debut. The Lovely Bones slightly exceeded expectations last weekend, but has lost a lot of momentum in the past week. The Lovely Bones has grossed $31.24 million after 10 days of wide release, placing it 17 percent behind the pace of 2003's Big Fish (though it should be noted that Big Fish received a larger platform release than The Lovely Bones did).

Extraordinary Measures opened to lackluster, but not terribly surprising, results. The first theatrical effort from CBS films opened with $6.01 million (nearly $1 million lower than yesterday's studio estimate), which was only good enough for eighth place this weekend. The combined star power of Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser wasn't enough to get moviegoers to take a chance the film's serious subject matter. With the exception of 2008's Indiana Jones sequel, Ford's drawing power has greatly decreased over the past decade.

Tags: Avatar, Legion, The Book of Eli, The Tooth Fairy
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