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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

will the Mid Atlantic coast snowstorm sink ‘Avatar’?

My geek gang and I have tickets to see Avatar tomorrow on the only true IMAX screen in Manhattan. That is, if we can get to the theater: weather forecasts say we’re gonna have 12 to 18 inches of snow on the ground by tomorrow morning. Now, for anyone actually in Manhattan, that’s not such a big deal: the subways hardly ever shut down because of weather (and in fact, high water is more of a problem for the subway that lots of snow). My major problem will be getting to the subway, which is a mile away. I normally have no problem walking to the subway — I prefer it, in fact, as long as I’m not carrying anything too onerous — but it’s a helluva slog through a foot of snow: the sidewalks (which all border a park and a huge cemetery) are unlikely to be shoveled, and though the streets will be plowed, walking in the middle of them would be taking my life in my hands. (The buses that run to the subways will likely be fantastically delayed, too.)

So, will I actually be able to get to Avatar tomorrow? It looks dicey at this point.
Of course, other cities south of New York are already socked under piles of snow, which is likely keeping almost everyone indoors, or at least close to home: not going to the movies, that is. The Christian Science Monitor has framed its story about the storm as a race to save Christmas shopping, but I can’t help but think that the storm could dramatically impact Avatar’s box office, which so many people are gonna be keeping an eye on. (And, of course, if the movie doesn’t do as well as expected, that could be blamed on the storm when, perhaps, the snow may not have been a factor at all. Because my geek pals and I already have our tickets, and even if we can’t make it and manage to get our money back from the theater, that money will already be counted in the weekend takings.)

EW is reporting that Avatar earned $27 million on Friday. All other things being equal, that could be the basis for an expectation of a $100 million opening weekend.

Will the snow see that drop by half, or more? It’s kinda funny that snow on the East Coast could be causing folks on the West Coast — it’s 70 and sunny in Los Angeles today — to worry.



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