Box Office: “Avatar” Wins for Seventh Straight Weekend

2/01/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Tim Strain

This is getting boring. “Avatar” made another $30 million this weekend, good for its seventh consecutive weekend crown. It passed the once-thought unattainable $2 billion worldwide mark, and its domestic total now stands at $594 million, a mere $6 million away from “Titanic’s” record. It will break $600 million at some point this week. After that, there won’t be any more records to break. It finished No. 1 around the world with $95.1 million drawn from 11,327 screens in 120 markets. It has amassed $1.45 billion overseas.

Audiences seem to have forgiven or, more likely, forgotten Mel Gibson’s off-camera racist and anti-Semitic remarks while pulled over for drunk driving in 2006, as his vengeance piece, “The Edge of Darkness,” grossed $17 million and came in second place. The Martin Campbell film, which also stars Ray Winstone and Danny Huston, was looking for the same audience that came in surprising droves to “Taken” this time last year. It ended up grossing $145 million with long legs after a decent opening weekend, but it didn’t have to face off against the biggest movie ever.

Audiences stayed away from the weekend’s other big opener, the nauseatingly bad-looking Kristen Bell/Josh Duhamel rom-com “When in Rome.” Its mediocre $12 million take does not quite match the combined hotness and current popularity of its leading stars, so executives at Buena Vista can’t be too pleased. They should also be worried because critics have destroyed this and, more importantly, the new Nicholas Sparks adaptation “Dear John” hits theaters next weekend. Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum’s also combine for greater hotness/current popularity figures as well.

The holdover’s continued to show impressive drops overall, but everything is being overshadowed by “Avatar.” “The Tooth Fairy,” it pains me to say, dropped only 29 percent to gather another $10 million, and may end up making back its $48 million production budget. “The Book of Eli” tacked on another $9 million and will eclipse its $80 million budget this week. “It’s Complicated,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The SQUEAKQUEL” are all hanging around in the top ten. “It’s Complicated” passed $100 million, “Holmes” is staring $200 million in the face, and “The Squeakquel” now has made $209 million more than it deserves. It and its predecessor are the third and second biggest films of all time to never top any weekend box office, respectively. “Legion” was the only big dropper in the top 10, falling 61 percent with $8 million. It has already made back its modest $26 million budget.

Up in the Air” and “The Blind Side” both suffered minor drops and will look for a bump after Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday. “Up in the Air” sits at an impressive $73 million total that could potentially get a lot bigger, and every dollar that Sandra Bullock’s baby gets stuns people a little bit more. It has garnered $230 million. “Crazy Heart,” in which many say Jeff Bridges gives the year’s only sure-fire Oscar-winning performance, saw an increase this weekend and looks for an even bigger one next week, when it increase its screens from 239 to more than 500.

The weekend’s last opener, the Steve Buscemi-led and awfully entitled “Saint John of Las Vegas” opened in two theaters to $22,400. It is IndieVest Pictures’ first film.

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