Avatar Repels Revolt, Daybreakers
By John Hamann
January 10, 2010
For the fourth weekend in row, James Cameron's box office behemoth Avatar dominated movie screens. Gone now from mere strong earner to box office phenomenon, this weekend was extremely key to Avatar's future. Now that we have a box office weekend away from the holidays, we are able to get a better grasp on how well this film is holding, and where it appears to be heading in terms of total domestic box office. Opening in the shadow of Avatar this weekend is the vampire flick Daybreakers, along with Michael Cera's Youth in Revolt and Amy Adams' Leap Year.
You've read the news. You know the story. Avatar, after opening to a quite mortal $77 million on December 18th did not lose a step as it cruised through the holidays (and through a slew of box office records). It's hard to believe that this one has only been open for four weeks, yet prior to the weekend had amassed $380.5 million on the domestic front and $781 million overseas, for a total of $1.16 billion in global movie ticket sales. Avatar had entered the top ten for biggest domestic films ever, and when North American and foreign grosses are combined, Avatar is already the second biggest earner of all time, behind only Titanic, also from James Cameron. That Titanic connection is the last of Avatar's undiscovered country, and we will know this weekend whether it has a shot at the top or not.
Our number one film of the weekend is Avatar, and while the 20th Century Fox product has taken a hit, it has still held up quite well compared to the business it's seen over the last 24 days. As Kim Hollis reported yesterday, Avatar earned about $13.3 million on Friday, which is a little more than half of what it earned last Friday, which just happened to be New Year's Day (and was a bigger day for Avatar than Christmas Day, often the biggest movie going day of the year). With school and work back to normal this week, it was impossible for Avatar to see the same grosses it saw a weekend ago. Last weekend Friday and Saturday grosses were virtually flat, where this weekend we see a big Friday followed by an even bigger Saturday, and then a drop off into Sunday. The weekend gross for Avatar comes in at $48.5 million, off 29% from last weekend. The gross is decently ahead of where expectations were laid. For example, BOP's Regan Sulewski predicted a fourth weekend gross for Avatar at $42 million. Avatar now has a domestic cume of $429 million, and is now about $170 million shy of Titanic's domestic box office record.
Avatar again dipped into the record book this weekend. It became only the tenth film ever to cross the $400 million mark in terms of domestic grosses, and did it in the second fastest amount of time at 23 days, behind only The Dark Knight, which earned $400 million in 18 days. Avatar does set the record for biggest fourth weekend, beating Titanic's $28.7 million - it now has the record for biggest second, third, and fourth weekends - but might have a harder time with a fifth, as Titanic earned $36 million in its fifth frame. Avatar entered the top ten domestic grossing films of all time list this week, and this weekend got ahead of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($402.1 million), Spider-Man ($403.7 million) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($423.3 million). It will join the top five biggest in the days ahead. Finally, by passing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Avatar becomes the biggest film released in 2009, and saves us all from such a bad film being recognized as the biggest film of the year. Michael Bay is James Cameron's bitch.