By John Hamann
February 7, 2010
Despite taking Avatar down, Dear John won't be on top for long, and not just because The Wolfman is coming next weekend. Reviews for the Lasse Hallstrom flick were definitely not similar to those of his Cider House Rules or Chocolat. Dear John actually received worse review than From Paris With Love, scoring only 25 positive reviews out of a possible 83, giving it only a 30% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, with "Top Critics" liking it even less at only 22%. Obviously the marketing here worked, as moviegoers ignored reviews (and common sense). The movie did star some folks that may not have the biggest names (Tatum, Amanda Seyfried), both the pair have been in some big movies. Tatum was in GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra, which earned over $300 million worldwide, and Seyfried was in Mamma Mia!, which earned $600 million worldwide.
Avatar drops to second spot in the same week it become the biggest domestic earner ever, and scored nine Oscar nominations. Avatar brought in another $23.6 million this weekend, down only 25% from last weekend, but higher than its previous drops, which had averaged about 14% per week heading into the weekend. Just because the big film is out of first place, don't expect its earning to stop. Avatar still has an entire month on 3-D screens prior to Alice In Wonderland, and still has a significant shot at earning $700 million. Avatar did manage to break another record this weekend, as its eighth weekend gross is the biggest ever for that time frame, ahead of now second place Titanic's eighth weekend of $23 million. That streak will likely end next weekend, as Titanic managed to gross $32 million over President's Day weekend in 1998, when Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday. For now, give Avatar a running total of $630.1 million at the domestic box office.
Finishing an ugly third is From Paris With Love, the new action film starring John Travolta. Paris didn't break out like Dear John did, and in fact did the opposite. From Paris With Love took in only $8.1 million from 2,722 venues this weekend, making it a big disappointment for the folks at Lionsgate. Paris marks the lowest opening for Travolta since 2000's Lucky Numbers, which flopped with a $4.5 million debut. We didn't even need to check the reviews to know that this one was a mistake, as Travolta's mad character in the marketing was enough to put people off. Paris was made by a barrage of European film companies, at a cost estimated around $55 million. At this point, it doesn't look like it will earn $20 million domestically.
Fourth spot goes to Mel Gibson's Edge of Darkness, which tumbles hard versus last weekend's opening take of $17.2 million. This weekend Edge of Darkness earns only $7 million, which means it was off a disastrous 59% from the opening frame. All of a sudden the $80 million Warner Bros. effort is in rough shape, as Edge has a total so far of only $29.1 million.