Avatar’s Golden—and Getting Closer to Batman, Titanic


Avatar’s Golden—and Getting Closer to Batman, Titanic:

top stories, avatar, james cameron, box office

Dark Knight, you’re next.

Per studio estimates, Avatar will gross $11.8 million today, bring its four-day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend take to $54.6 million, push its domestic haul past $500 million, and continue its romp through the history books.

And you thought James Cameron would be satisified with last night’s Golden Globes…

Here’s a look at where Avatar ranks all-time, plus holiday-weekend updates on the rest of the Top 10:

Domestically, Avatar is now one week—tops—from passing The Dark Knight as the second-biggest movie in Hollywood history. For those keeping score at home, Avatar stands at $505.1 million as of today’s estimates; The Dark Knight grossed $533.3 million.

Cameron’s own Titanic, The Dark Knight and, as of today, Avatar are the only three movies to ever gross at least $500 million domestically.

Worldwide, Avatar is at about $1.6 billion and holding in second place all-time behind Titanic. Make that close behind Titanic. As Exhibitor Relations’ Jeff Bock said Sunday: “Titanic’s record of $1.8 billion will surely sink—very soon.”

When its ticket sales are adjusted for inflation, Avatar ranks 34th (and climbing) per Box Office Mojo, an impressive ranking in its own right. For all the blockbusters of the last decade, only two releases from the 2000s rank higher on that list than Avatar.

• Denzel Washington’s The Book of Eli actually beat Avatar—on Friday. But Avatar came back fast. And while Eli stayed within $10 million of Avatar through Sunday, by Monday it was no match for wonder of Pandora.

If not for Avatar, The Book of Eli ($32.8 million Friday-Sunday; $38 million Friday-Monday) would have been the story of the holiday weekend. The $70 million apocalyptic tale is the second biggest opener of Washington’s career.

After doing nothing in limited release and next to nothing in the pre-Oscar awards season, The Lovely Bones‘ wide-release debut was something: $17 million Friday-Sunday, $20.5 million Friday-Monday. Still, the Peter Jackson film, which has taken in about $27 million worldwide, is a long way away from matching its reputed $150 million production and marketing budget.

Going for The Rock crowd didn’t pay off for Jackie Chan’s The Spy Next Door ($9.6 million Friday-Sunday; $13 million Friday-Monday).

In its second weekend, Daybreakers ($4.9 million Friday-Sunday; $6.3 million Friday-Monday; $25.5 million overall) took a plunge worthy of the Twilight franchise. The vampire flick was down 68 percent in ticket sales and dropped like a rock out of the Top 10. (Yes, the Twilight movies do make a whole lot more money in their debuts.)

The revolution is over for Michael Cera’s Youth in Revolt ($3 million Friday-Sunday; $3.7 million Friday-Monday; $12.8 million overall), which lost substantial steam in its second weekend.

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog departed the Top 10 after a seven-weekend run and a $97.5 million domestic take that won’t match its reported $105 million budget, much less encourage more hand-drawn cartoons that don’t play in 3-D theaters.

Here’s a revised rundown of the holiday weekend’s top-grossing films, through Monday, per estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Avatar, $54.6 million
  2. The Book of Eli, $38 million
  3. The Lovely Bones, $20.5 million
  4. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, $15 million
  5. The Spy Next Door, $13 million
  6. Sherlock Holmes, $11.7 million
  7. It’s Complicated, $9.6 million
  8. Leap Year, $7.1 million
  9. Up in the Air, $6.7 million
  10. The Blind Side, $6.5 million

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