For a fourth straight weekend Fox's Avatar led the box office with very impressive results. In doing so, James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster became the first film since 2008's The Dark Knight to lead the domestic box office for four consecutive frames. Avatar grossed $50.31 million for the weekend, which was down just 27 percent from last weekend. That represents an excellent hold for the weekend after New Year's weekend and set a new record for the largest fourth weekend performance of all time. Avatar easily outpaced the $28.72 million fourth weekend gross of the previous record holder, 1997's Titanic. However, it should be noted that the fourth weekend figure for Titanic jumps all the way up to $45.68 million when adjusting for ticket price inflation.
Avatar has grossed a massive $430.85 million through 24 days. That places the film in seventh place on the all-time unadjusted domestic chart. Over the weekend Avatar passed up last year's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2002's Spider-Man and 2006's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. In the coming days Avatar will also zoom past 1999's The Phantom Menace, 1982's E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and 2004's Shrek 2. Avatar is currently $102.50 million away from over-taking The Dark Knight as the top grossing domestic film of the 2000s.
Warner's Sherlock Holmes and Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel remained in second place and third place respectively. That means that the order of the top three films at the box office has remained the same for each of the past three weekends. Sherlock Holmes grossed $16.585 million this weekend, while The Squeakquel followed very closely behind with $16.566 million. Both films were down sharply from the previous weekend, but both should hold up much better next weekend over the Martin Luther King four-day holiday weekend. Sherlock Holmes has grossed $165.15 million through 17 days and The Squeakquel has grossed $178.45 million in 19 days.
Lionsgate's Daybreakers opened with $15.15 million to finish in fourth. The R-rated sci-fi vampire film starring Ethan Hawke didn't open as strongly as fairly recent early-January break-outs such as 2005's White Noise ($24.11 million), 2006's Hostel ($19.56 million) and last year's The Unborn ($19.81 million), but was able to open in line with pre-release expectations. Daybreakers will face a major test next weekend when Warner's The Book of Eli enters the marketplace.
Universal claimed both fifth and sixth positions this weekend with It's Complicated and Leap Year. It's Complicated (starring Meryl Streep) was down a respectable 41 percent to gross $11.01 million. Meanwhile, Leap Year (starring Amy Adams, who co-starred with Streep in last year's Julie & Julia) opened with a so-so $9.20 million. Both films could hold up quite well over next weekend's four-day frame.
On the heels of the disappointing performance of The Weinstein Company's Nine, the studio saw its Youth in Revolt open towards the lower end of expectations. The R-rated comedy starring Michael Cera debuted with $6.89 million, which was only good enough for ninth place in what was a very crowded marketplace this weekend.