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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

North American box office: James Cameron about to overtake James Cameron…

…for biggest movie ever:

1. Avatar: $54.4 million
2. The Book of Eli: $38.4 million (NEW)
3. The Lovely Bones: $19.9 million (NEW in wide release)
4. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: $15.3 million (3rd week; drops 8%)
5. The Spy Next Door: $12.9 million (NEW)

actual numbers, not estimates, for the 4-day weekend
In its fifth week, Avatar was up eight percent over the previous weekend (down 15 percent if you look at the three-day weekend), making it the biggest Martin Luther King Jr. weekend opener ever. As Box Office Mojo notes, it’s also the first movie in a decade — since 1999’s The Sixth Sense — to spend five weeks at the top of the box office. It’s now the fastest film to $500 million in North America (it was near to $505 million after Monday’s takings were counted): 32 days, versus 45 for The Dark Knight. (Titanic is the only other film in that exclusive club.) It seems inevitable that it will surpass Titanic as the moneymakingest movie ever: it’s within less than $200 million, globally, of Titanic’s final number.

So much for “women don’t go to the movies.” After critics and adult moviegoers rejected the film in limited release, Paramount targeted The Lovely Bones at teenaged girls, and the tactic paid off: its not unimpressive first weekend in wide release saw an audience that was 72 percent female and 40 percent under 20 years of age. (The film will still have an impossible job of earning back its budget of $65 million, though.)

If you look at the three-day weekend only, Sherlock Holmes and Spy Next Door were reversed, with Holmes just edging out Spy by about $160,000; Spy was ahead by about $850,000 over the four-day weekend.

I’m sorry to see Daybreakers disappearing so quickly: it dropped to No. 11, plunging 60 percent in its second weekend. Still, it was cheap to make — $20 million — and has already earned $25 million.

Another milestone: The Blind Side passed $225 million. It is, by far, the highest-grossest football movie ever and the highest-grossing sports drama ever.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]



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posted in:
movie buzz
  • People won’t stop going to Avatar??? I know that waiting for it to come out on DVD isn’t the plan (unless you got a 72 inch LCD wallscreen and a sound system George Lucas personally installed for you), but damn people, it’s the same movie you saw last week… and the week before… and the week earlier than that… and

  • Yes, really, people. How dare you all go see a movie you all really like as opposed to seeing a movie you all really don’t like?

    Damn that free will. Don’t moviegoers realize that they owe it to themselves to give other filmmakers a chance?

  • Dr Rocketscience

    Don’t moviegoers realize that they owe it to themselves to give other filmmakers a chance?

    I think you may have closed your sarcasm tag one sentence too soon, Tonio. I do think moviegoers owe it to themselves to give other filmmakers a chance. There’s a lot of good film being made today that gets overlooked in favor of big-budget, over-hyped crap (I’m looking at you, Michael Bay). And what’s more, I’ve read enough of your comments on this site to strongly suspect that you agree. ;-)

    On the other hand, I too am dismayed at the apparent repeat viewership for Avatar, simply because I didn’t find it to be a particularly good movie. And I really, really, want someone to explain to me what’s so spectacular about the 3-D effects, cause I’m just not seeing it. But every thread on every site I mention this in seems to die before I get an answer.

  • Bluejay

    And I really, really, want someone to explain to me what’s so spectacular about the 3-D effects, cause I’m just not seeing it. But every thread on every site I mention this in seems to die before I get an answer.

    My take on it is that it wasn’t a revolutionary use of 3D, as much as an exceptionally judicious one. No gimmicky make-you-duck or poke-you-in-the-eye scenes. (This was made even clearer to me when the theater I saw it in showed the preview for Piranha 3D, which had horrible headachey 3D rendering.) Avatar just used the 3D to add depth and realism; I think the intent was not to call attention to it but to have it unobtrusively be part of the immersive experience.

  • Jim Mann

    And I really, really, want someone to explain to me what’s so spectacular about the 3-D effects, cause I’m just not seeing it.

    They aren’t showy, in the way so many other movies with 3D try to be. They don’t should “hey, I’m 3D” and things don’t come out of the screen at you. But they are well done. And to me this attempt to make 3D a natural part of the movie instead of something showy is precisely what makes the 3D in Avatar so good.

  • Bluejay

    Weird. Same answer, same time. Except Jim’s better at shorter answers. :-)

  • MaryAnn

    On the other hand, I too am dismayed at the apparent repeat viewership for Avatar

    Well, we don’t know if it’s all repeat business. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to guess that a lot of infrequent moviegoers have been drawn to the film by the buzz that’s it’s something groundbreaking.

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