Weekend Wrap-Up

Avatar Repels Mel Gibson's Darkness

By John Hamann

January 31, 2010

Two manly men share a vulnerable moment.

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Third spot this weekend to When In Rome, as Kristin Bell tries to get some momentum going on a movie career. The romantic comedy earned a not bad $12.1 million. Out to 2,456 venues (or about 500 less than Edge of Darkness), When In Rome scored a venue average of $4,912. TV's Veronica Mars still stands as Kristin Bell's greatest success, but her movie resume is improving. She's had smaller roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall($17.7 million opening, $63.2 million total), and more recently in the awful Couples Retreat ($34.3 million opening, $109 million finish), but it's roles like this one where she needs to break out. The problem here is that When In Rome is not a good movie, and Buena Vista realized that and failed to properly market this one. Rome finished at only 20% fresh, but likely cost less than $30 million to make.

Tooth Fairy manages to stay in fourth spot, which is telling about this weekend's box office. Tooth Fairy earned $10 million and dropped 29% compared to last weekend. Had there been stronger competition in the top ten, Tooth Fairy would have dropped a couple of spots in the top ten, but ends up staying in the same position where it debuted. Out of last weekend's top ten, only two films were fresh, and both opened in December (Avatar, Sherlock Holmes). The Tooth Fairy had a somewhat higher drop than it should have for a kids' flick, but considering how bad this movie looks, Fox has to be happy with this result. The Tooth Fairy cost Fox $50 million to make, and should finish right around that number. Currently, The Rock's latest effort has earned $26.1 million.

Fifth goes to Denzel Washington and The Book of Eli, and I'm sure many will say that the star-driven film is dead; however, of the top five, four are really star-driven vehicles, so I ask you to really consider this when you hear this rumor. In its third weekend, The Book of Eli earned another $8.8 million, but drops 44% after falling 52% last weekend. Eli cost Warner Bros. about $80 million to make, and much like Tooth Fairy, will finish near its production budget domestically, with any hope for profit coming from either foreign grosses or from DVD sales. The Book of Eli has now earned $74.4 million.

Legion moves from second spot last weekend to sixth this weekend. Legion earned only $6.8 million after debuting to $17.5 million last weekend. The religious horror flick fell 61%, which is similar to plunge that Daybreakers had. Daybreakers opened in fourth spot with $15 million, before falling 66% to 11th in its second weekend, and then another 70% in its third weekend. A similar thing will likely happen with Legion, as these are your "one and done" type of films. Legion has now earned $28.6 million against a budget of only $26 million. You have to love Sony Screen Gems. They know how to make a profit off crap.


Seventh spot goes to The Lovely Bones, which has had a rough ride since going wide on January 15th. The Peter Jackson flick earned $4.7 million in its third wide weekend, and has seen some serious drops since its wide release. After grossing $17 million over that first wide weekend, The Lovely Bones dropped 51% last weekend, and this weekend falls 44%. The reported budget here is $65 million, and the drama has a gross so far of $38 million for Paramount. Had it not been for that first big weekend, The Lovely Bones would have been a Lovely Disaster for Paramount.

Sherlock Holmes finishes eighth, and besides Avatar and Tooth Fairy, has one of the better holds in the top ten. Holmes earned $4.5 million this weekend and falls 32%. The Robert Downey Jr. flick has been inching its way toward $200 million, and should finally make it next weekend. The $90 million Warner Bros. effort has now earned $197.6 million domestically, and a similar amount overseas.

Ninth goes to the sequel to Alvin and the Chipmunks. The Fox film earned $4 million in its sixth weekend and drops 38%. The family film has now earned $209.3 million.

It's Complicated sticks around in the top ten this weekend, taking the final spot. The Meryl Streep comedy earned $3.7 million in its sixth weekend and dropped 36%. It's Complicated finally got across the $100 million mark and sits with a total of $104 million against a budget of $85 million.

Overall, the box office is similar to where we were last year. In January 2009, the top 12 at the box office rang up $103 million on the strength of Taken's opening weekend and Paul Blart's third weekend. This year, the top 12 earned $107.4 million and things don't look to improve much next weekend. Opening films include Dear John, another Nicolas Sparks weeper, and From Paris With Love, with John Travolta looking much too old for an action movie.

Top Weekend Box Office for 1/29/10-1/31/10 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Avatar 20th Century Fox $30,000,000 - 14.1% $594,472,387
2 Edge of Darkness Warner Bros. Pictures $17,120,000 New $17,120,000
3 When in Rome Touchstone Pictures $12,065,000 New $12,065,000
4 Tooth Fairy 20th Century Fox $10,000,000 - 28.6% $26,106,278
5 The Book of Eli Warner Bros. $8,770,000 - 44.3% $74,373,000
6 Legion Screen Gems (Sony) $6,800,000 - 61.1% $28,646,000
7 The Lovely Bones DreamWorks $4,735,000 - 43.8% $38,014,000
8 Sherlock Holmes Warner Bros. Pictures $4,510,000 - 32.0% $197,596,000
9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 20th Century Fox $4,000,000 - 37.5% $209,297,861
10 It's Complicated Universal $3,720,400 - 36.0% $104,027,220
11 The Blind Side Twentieth Century Fox $3,020,000 - 27.5% $237,913,000
12 Up in the Air Paramount $2,700,000 - 30.8% $73,173,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Preacher's Kid Gener8xion $201,500 New $201,500
  Saint John of Las Vegas IndieVest Pictures $22,443 New $22,443
  Extraordinary Measures CBS Films $2,575,000 - 57.2% $10,401,311
  To Save a Life Idp/samuel Goldwyn $660,000 New $2,496,508
  The Spy Next Door Lionsgate $2,020,000 - 55.9% $21,480,000
  CRAZY HEART FOX SEARCHLIGHT $2,250,000 New $6,598,134
  The Princess and the Frog Walt Disney Pictures $757,000 - 41.4% $100,309,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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