Box Office Guru Wrapup: It's Lucky 7 for Avatar: $2 Billion Broken!

Disgruntled Mel Gibson: "The Na'vi are responsible for all the wars in the universe."

Once again, it wasn't even close. James Cameron's 3D epic Avatar ruled the box office for the seventh consecutive time grossing more than the frame's two new releases combined. With another remarkably low decline, the sci-fi actioner put itself within inches of passing Titanic's all-time domestic record while incredible staying power overseas propelled the worldwide gross past the $2 billion mark. Picking up the crumbs were the new films Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson which enjoyed a mediocre debut and the romantic comedy When in Rome which did better than expected in third place.

With another $30M, according to estimates, Avatar had no problem defending its crown during its seventh weekend to remain the most popular movie choice in North America. Off a slim 14%, the Fox smash watched its total soar to an eye-popping $594.5M after only 45 days of release. The Na'vi pic is now only three days away from breaking the $600M mark and sailing past the $600.8M domestic record held by Titanic for twelve years.
Of course, Avatar is benefiting from higher ticket prices for 2D films as well as surcharges from 3D and IMAX 3D screens where the bulk of the business is coming from. As for total audience size, Titanic sold roughly 125 million tickets while Avatar has sold in the neighborhood of 70 million and counting which is about equal to the tallies of 2004's Shrek 2 and 2002's Spider-Man. Studios generally do not reveal exact admissions figures. Still, movie fans have never emptied their wallets to this extent before.

No film since the iceberg pic has spent at least seven weekends at number one and Avatar set a new record for grosses in the seventh weekend beating Titanic's $25.9M from 1998. As if the Pandora adventure needs any more momentum, Tuesday morning will bring the announcement of Academy Award nominations and Avatar is expected to score nods for Picture and Director in addition to several technical notices. In fact, it may be among the films with the most overall nominations which would serve to keep selling the film throughout February to the few who have not seen it yet. Shattering the $700M mark is all but guaranteed now and next weekend should see it at the top for the eighth straight time.

More than tripling its domestic performance, Avatar grossed another $95M overseas this weekend for a slender 12% decline as the film's sensational legs are carrying it forward all around the world. The international total has now surged to $1.445 billion allowing the worldwide take to shatter the $2 billion barrier. The global gross stands at $2.039 billion and the current trajectory puts it on course to possibly reach a staggering $2.5 billion. Then again, every industry estimate for Avatar 's final gross has had to be revised upwards during its historic run.
Mel Gibson's face returned to the big screen for the first time in nearly eight years with the revenge thriller Edge of Darkness which generated a decent but not stellar opening with an estimated $17.1M. Averaging a somewhat good $5,584 from 3,066 locations, the R-rated film about a Boston detective out to solve his daughter's murder earned generally positive reviews and played to an adult audience. But Darkness opened below the $21.2M of Gibson's 1999 film Payback, another R-rated gritty crime thriller released at this same time of year, which would be $30M at today's ticket prices. Edge also did not come close to the $24.7M bow of Liam Neeson's own daddy-wants-revenge thriller Taken from this weekend last year. Gibson attracted plenty of bad press over the last three years with his arrest and divorce and had mostly stayed away from the spotlight until now. Future films will show whether his starpower has truly faded or if moviegoers will still flock to him in big-ticket items.
Opening better than expected in third place was the romantic comedy When in Rome starring Kristen Bell which grossed an estimated $12.1M from 2,456 theaters. Averaging a solid $4,912 per location, the PG-13 film about a New York career gal that travels to Italy to find love connected with female audiences not in the mood for blue aliens and gun-toting dads out for revenge. According to studio research, the critically panned film's audience was 69% female and 55% over 25. It easily bested the $9.2M bow of the Amy Adams flick Leap Year, another romantic comedy about a Yankee lady hopping the Atlantic to find Mr. Right.

With no new kiddie movies opening, Fox's The Tooth Fairy enjoyed a solid hold dipping only 29% to an estimated $10M in its second weekend of release. But the Dwayne Johnson family comedy still only stands at $26.1M and could find its way to $50-60M. Denzel Washington's The Book of Eli is doing much better overall. Down 44% to an estimated $8.8M, the Warner Bros. pic has banked an impressive $74.4M in 17 days making it the only new film of 2010 to surpass $30M.
Sony's supernatural thriller Legion collapsed in its second frame tumbling 61% to an estimated $6.8M for a $28.6M total. Budgeted in the $25-30M range, the R-rated film looks to reach about $40M by the end of its run. The Peter Jackson-helmed The Lovely Bones followed with an estimated $4.7M, down 44%, raising the sum to $38M.
A trio of big boys from Christmas weekend with good holds rounded out the top ten. Sherlock Holmes took in an estimated $4.5M dropping 32% and pushed the cume to $197.6M for Warner Bros. Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel fell 38% to an estimated $4M for $209.3M to date. And the Meryl Streep comedy It's Complicated grossed an estimated $3.7M, off 36%, giving Universal $104M and a spot in the century club.
Some interesting activity took place outside of the top ten. Sandra Bullock's The Blind Side scored another solid hold in its eleventh weekend of release dipping just 28% to an estimated $3M vaulting the total to an amazing $237.9M. The actress may earn an Oscar nomination this week for her role which would only help the sleeper hit's chances of passing the $250M mark. On the other hand, the Brendan Fraser-Harrison Ford drama Extraordinary Measures followed its weak debut with a dismal 57% tumble to an estimated $2.6M for a weak ten-day total of $10.4M. It represents a shaky start for new distributor CBS Films, however recent newbies Overture and Summit also flopped with their first releases only to score hits later on, most notably Summit with the Twilight series.

With Jeff Bridges looking like the front-runner in the Best Actor race, Fox Searchlight expanded its music tale Crazy Heart from 93 to 239 theaters across many markets and took in an estimated $2.3M for a solid $9,414 average. Total is $6.6M and moviegoer interest is sure to see a boost once Academy Award nominations are announced on Tuesday. Bridges has already won trophies from the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards. Elsewhere, Disney crossed the $100M mark with its latest animated feature The Princess and the Frog.

The top ten films grossed $101.7M which was up 6% from last year when Taken opened in the top spot with $24.7M; and up 7% from 2008 when Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds 3D debuted at number one with $31.1M with $15 tickets.

Author: Gitseh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

Comments

Superzone

Link O'Fett

Good Lord.

Jan 31 - 03:55 PM

EvilDex

Torbjorn Nilsson

2 billion $

Wow!

Jan 31 - 04:02 PM

Colyn B.

Colyn Bowman

I saw Edge of Darkness on Saturday night and I found it to be pretty enjoyable. It is not as action oriented as Taken, it was more of a thinking mans thriller. I rated it pretty high myself since it was pretty original and kept me on "Edge" pun intended for most of the movie. Plus its graphic as hell, and that is always a plus.

Jan 31 - 04:18 PM

Jim C.

Jim Cameron

ogilby eh? not a bad movie.

Feb 1 - 02:21 PM

Jim C.

Jim Cameron

it is official. AVATAR 2 will be a full blown WAR movie that will take place OFF pandora, yes that's right , OFF pandora. here is the link http://marketsaw.blogspot.com/2010/02/exclusive-want-early-word-on-avatar-2.html#disqus_thread it makes sense, in the same way that Empires Strikes Back was much darker.

Feb 1 - 02:24 PM

Don M.

Don McCollough

I guess you could say Avatar is now "King of the world". lol

Jan 31 - 04:19 PM

TombstoneLawDog

Daniel Klein

The only Imax theater that hasn't been sold out all week on Avatar sold out while I was processing my damn ticket order. Jeeesus.

I feel such shame; I have only seen it in 2d, thus far.



...back to the lab to do another DNA test and make *sure* I'm not related to Cameron. Fourth time's a charm...

Jan 31 - 04:29 PM

Chris B.

Chris Bellew

at least you have an imax theater near you >:(

Jan 31 - 05:22 PM

Taylor A.

Taylor Agnew

I wonder how much Avatar would have made without the 3-D version?

Jan 31 - 04:38 PM

jonathan D.

jonathan Del Prado

"would have made?"
it's nowhere near done in theaters yet. it could quite possibly reach the 3B mark and shatter any other movie's ticket numbers

Jan 31 - 07:33 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Surprising, this is not.

Jan 31 - 05:06 PM

Chris B.

Chris Bellew

at least you have an imax theater near you >:(

Jan 31 - 05:22 PM

rwfatface

Rick Palmer

"Edge of Darkness" was a good revenge flick. Not great, but still a decent thriller. It just had a few nagging problems that hindered it. A safe choice for Gibson's return, and I have to say I'm glad he's back. Martin Campbell's direction was, at times, a little ham-fisted and at other's right on point. In the end, I was a bit disappointed and felt he gave into convention too often. If you need your revenge itch scratched it's worth a trip to the theater. Otherwise, it should be a good rental. In this particular genre, you could do a lot worse than "Edge of Darkness".

We've got a tough couple of months coming up. Shutter Island looks alright but, unless it garners some really impressive reviews, I probably won't find myself back in theaters until March (Green Zone).

ledawg, I enjoyed your post on GT about a future LoZ movie.

Jan 31 - 06:06 PM

jonathan D.

jonathan Del Prado

"would have made?"
it's nowhere near done in theaters yet. it could quite possibly reach the 3B mark and shatter any other movie's ticket numbers

Jan 31 - 07:33 PM

Guanxi X.

Guanxi Xiao

it is really a moment!!

Jan 31 - 07:46 PM

Jonas M.

Jonas Meriwether

$700 million isn't guaranteed since Alice in Wonderland is going to push it out of digital theaters in a month.

Jan 31 - 07:49 PM

rgallitan

robin thompson

Oh, I think $700m IS guaranteed. I was doing some calculations over at Box Office Mojo, and came up with an average weekly drop of -16% (counting since Week 4, after the holidays ended). Rounding up to -20% gives an estimated gross of $690m by March 4th - the day before Alice opens. And that's not allowing for an Oscar nom bump, which is likely to put Avatar over 700 even before Alice steals its theaters. If it actually wins Best Picture, 750 is easily in reach, and I suppose even 800 is not absolutely off the table, though unlikely.

Jan 31 - 09:19 PM

Floor Man

Floor Man

@rgallitan:

You don't think the (three!) movies that are coming out on February 12th are going to heavily ding Avatar's average 16% weekly drop? I do, but that's just me. I've been crunching numbers, too, and I'd say Avatar will be quite lucky to break $700 million. That achievement is certainly possible; but The Wolfman, Percy Jackson, and Valentine's Day are all targeted at different demographics, and all look like movies that might significantly pull people away from repeat-viewings of Avatar%u2014people who finally and actually have something else in theaters that's worthy to check out.

Feb 1 - 01:23 AM

trojanfan432

Ben Lindblom

Avatar probably wont be beat until Shutter Island on Feb 19th. Form Paris with Love, The Wolfman and, unfortunatly, Valentines Day may have decent debuts but i cant see them beating Avatar.

Jan 31 - 08:11 PM

hdbngr63

Ryan Oliver

Actually trojanfan, "Valentine's Day" will probably beat out "Avatar," at least over the four-day weekend tally (maybe not the three days). It'll be the thrill of couples seeing the movie on Valentine's Day that will drive it, similar to "Friday the 13th" on friday the 13th. That's why me and my girlfriend are seeing "Valentine's Day" on that friday and "The Wolfman" on Valentine's Day :P

Jan 31 - 08:28 PM

manwithoutfear19

Daniel Raimondi

avatar is whooping ***

Jan 31 - 08:32 PM

Patrick

Patrick Wagner

In 2D? The theaters around here only seem to show it in 3D or 3D Imax. Wasn't aware it was even in a 2D version.

Jan 31 - 08:39 PM

T45Red

Mitchell Nash

I wonder if it'll break $3 billion. Then it will have grossed more than the 3 Lord of the Rings movies [world wide] combined [it actually only needs $2.9152 billion].

Look at it this way:
On day 7 of TDK's and Avatar's release, TDK was $100 million AHEAD. On the 29th day of release, Avatar OUTPACED TDK. On the 37th day, it OUTGROSSED the final tally of TDK. Now, come the 49th or 50th day of release, Avatar will be $100 million AHEAD of TDK [beating Titanic on the 49th day of release]. That's CRAZY!

All this from a movie that isn't based on a comic book, a book, a toy, TV show, not a sequel, nor a reboot, has no big star names, had a rather bad reaction from the first trailer shown, and based around giant blue alien humanoids on an distant moon! This movie had a LOT going against it [many say NOW that it has a lot going FOR it, but before it was released the argument was the OTHER way around].

Jan 31 - 08:53 PM

RJ Smoove

Ryan Rutherford

GOOD SHlT AVATAR....keep it up so that people can stop talking about Gone with the Wind selling more tickets. I swear I've read at least four articles about "who is really the box office leader". Who cares? People are blaming the inflation of ticket prices for Avatar's success, but everything is relative. We make more money, and things cost more.

Jan 31 - 09:04 PM

Floor Man

Floor Man

The Wolfman/Percy Jackson/Valentine's Day combo is sure to knock Avatar off its perch in a couple weeks. The $700 million mark for Avatar is guaranteed? I guess so...just am more skeptical that it'll *definitely* make it there.

Jan 31 - 09:06 PM

Daniel K.

Daniel K

I used doubt that Avatar will break the world record of Titanic back when people were talking about it, and I wanted Avatar to succeed more than anything! And now that Avatar has surpassed $2 billion worldwide and will soon become the top grossing movie of all time domestically, I think nothing is really impossible for Avatar.

Feb 1 - 10:07 AM

rgallitan

robin thompson

Oh, I think $700m IS guaranteed. I was doing some calculations over at Box Office Mojo, and came up with an average weekly drop of -16% (counting since Week 4, after the holidays ended). Rounding up to -20% gives an estimated gross of $690m by March 4th - the day before Alice opens. And that's not allowing for an Oscar nom bump, which is likely to put Avatar over 700 even before Alice steals its theaters. If it actually wins Best Picture, 750 is easily in reach, and I suppose even 800 is not absolutely off the table, though unlikely.

Jan 31 - 09:19 PM

Floor Man

Floor Man

@rgallitan:

You don't think the (three!) movies that are coming out on February 12th are going to heavily ding Avatar's average 16% weekly drop? I do, but that's just me. I've been crunching numbers, too, and I'd say Avatar will be quite lucky to break $700 million. That achievement is certainly possible; but The Wolfman, Percy Jackson, and Valentine's Day are all targeted at different demographics, and all look like movies that might significantly pull people away from repeat-viewings of Avatar%u2014people who finally and actually have something else in theaters that's worthy to check out.

Feb 1 - 01:23 AM

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