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It was a record breaking Martin Luther King long weekend, as Avatar remained in top spot at least for three out of the four days, and for the weekend as a whole. Its record-breaking weekend helped the overall box office hit $170 million over three days and $210 million over four. This was down compared to last year by 12% over three days and 9% over four, which makes it the first down weekend in two months. Even so, year-to-date, 2010 is still ahead of 2009's pace by nearly 15%, $707 million to $616 million, but this is the first bit of bad news we've had so far. Perhaps next weekend will be strong and this will be nothing but a minor blip.

I am seriously running out of words to describe Avatar's box office run. This weekend the film broke more records with $42.79 million from Friday to Sunday and $54.40 million including Monday. This is the biggest Martin Luther King long weekend box office, the biggest fifth weekend, and the third biggest January weekend of all time. Avatar now holds the top three spots on that last list. I have no way to describe this without simply going to a thesaurus and looking up the synonyms for "unbelievable" and listing them here. So far the film has pulled in $504.87 million, making it just the third film to reach the half a billion mark domestically, and easily the fastest, while by this time next week it could be in second place on the All-time Chart. Where does it go from here? Titanic's unsinkable record is all but sunk, while worldwide it is getting closer to $2 billion. Again, words fail me.

The biggest new release of the week was The Book of Eli, which outperformed expectations by earning more over three days than it was predicted to earn over four. It even managed to top the box office on Friday. Its weekend numbers earned it second place, in more ways than one, with a very solid $32.79 million over three days and $38.44 million after four. This was enough for second place this weekend and it is the second biggest January opening of all time (third if you count the Special Edition release of Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope) and the second biggest opening for a Denzel Washington film. It is also very much in line with Paul Blart's opening last year; in fact, it topped that film over three days and only missed out on a four-day comparison by less than $1 million. Assuming that the film has halfway decent legs, it should reach $100 million in total. Its reviews and Washington's track record suggest it will be able to earn average legs at the least.

It seems obvious that the studio was originally positioning The Lovely Bones as Oscar material; however, the reviews were just not up to snuff. But Paramount did a masterful job of re-selling the film as a movie in a similar vein as Taken. Granted, it didn't open as well as that film did, but it crushed expectations with $17.01 million over three days and $19.91 million over for. Add in its performance in limited release and the movie now has $20.38 million. It will be interesting to see what it does going forward, but at least it won't be relegated to the pile of busted Oscar bait films, and it should become a midlevel hit at the very least.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel added $11.62 million / $15.31 million over the weekend for a total of $196.40 million after four weeks of release. By this time next week it will become the tenth film of 2009 to reach $200 million, and it might not be the last.

There are two films that could lay claim to fifth place: The Spy Next Door and Sherlock Holmes.

The Spy Next Door missed the top five over the three-day portion of the weekend with $9.73 million, but thanks to its target demographic and the holiday weekend, Monday's earnings helped it climb into fifth place with $12.88 million. This is a little weaker than expected, but not a disaster, and given its reviews, it could have been one. With direct competition opening next week, it could fade away quickly. On the other hand, it likely didn't cost too much to make, so Lionsgate could have another money maker on their hands.

Placing fifth over the three-day weekend was Sherlock Holmes with $9.89 million, while it made $12.03 million over four days. In total the film has earned $182.23 million at the box office and looks to be on pace to reach $200 million. This would make it the eleventh film of 2009 to reach that milestone, which would be one of countless records set last year.

Moving onto the sophomore class, not a single new release from last week reached the top five this week. In fact, only one of them, Leap Year, reached the top ten. That film was down just 36% to $5.93 million over three days for a total of $18.77 million after eleven. Daybreakers fell 66% to just $5.19 million over the weekend and $25.32 million after two. Direct competition obviously played some role here. Meanwhile, Youth in Revolt landed in 13th place with $3.00 million over the weekend and lifted its running tally to $12.70 million as of Monday.

- C.S.Strowbridge More Records Fall to Avatar - The Numbers

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More Records Fall to Avatar

January 19th, 2010

It was a record breaking Martin Luther King long weekend, as Avatar remained in top spot at least for three out of the four days, and for the weekend as a whole. Its record-breaking weekend helped the overall box office hit $170 million over three days and $210 million over four. This was down compared to last year by 12% over three days and 9% over four, which makes it the first down weekend in two months. Even so, year-to-date, 2010 is still ahead of 2009's pace by nearly 15%, $707 million to $616 million, but this is the first bit of bad news we've had so far. Perhaps next weekend will be strong and this will be nothing but a minor blip.

I am seriously running out of words to describe Avatar's box office run. This weekend the film broke more records with $42.79 million from Friday to Sunday and $54.40 million including Monday. This is the biggest Martin Luther King long weekend box office, the biggest fifth weekend, and the third biggest January weekend of all time. Avatar now holds the top three spots on that last list. I have no way to describe this without simply going to a thesaurus and looking up the synonyms for "unbelievable" and listing them here. So far the film has pulled in $504.87 million, making it just the third film to reach the half a billion mark domestically, and easily the fastest, while by this time next week it could be in second place on the All-time Chart. Where does it go from here? Titanic's unsinkable record is all but sunk, while worldwide it is getting closer to $2 billion. Again, words fail me.

The biggest new release of the week was The Book of Eli, which outperformed expectations by earning more over three days than it was predicted to earn over four. It even managed to top the box office on Friday. Its weekend numbers earned it second place, in more ways than one, with a very solid $32.79 million over three days and $38.44 million after four. This was enough for second place this weekend and it is the second biggest January opening of all time (third if you count the Special Edition release of Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope) and the second biggest opening for a Denzel Washington film. It is also very much in line with Paul Blart's opening last year; in fact, it topped that film over three days and only missed out on a four-day comparison by less than $1 million. Assuming that the film has halfway decent legs, it should reach $100 million in total. Its reviews and Washington's track record suggest it will be able to earn average legs at the least.

It seems obvious that the studio was originally positioning The Lovely Bones as Oscar material; however, the reviews were just not up to snuff. But Paramount did a masterful job of re-selling the film as a movie in a similar vein as Taken. Granted, it didn't open as well as that film did, but it crushed expectations with $17.01 million over three days and $19.91 million over for. Add in its performance in limited release and the movie now has $20.38 million. It will be interesting to see what it does going forward, but at least it won't be relegated to the pile of busted Oscar bait films, and it should become a midlevel hit at the very least.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel added $11.62 million / $15.31 million over the weekend for a total of $196.40 million after four weeks of release. By this time next week it will become the tenth film of 2009 to reach $200 million, and it might not be the last.

There are two films that could lay claim to fifth place: The Spy Next Door and Sherlock Holmes.

The Spy Next Door missed the top five over the three-day portion of the weekend with $9.73 million, but thanks to its target demographic and the holiday weekend, Monday's earnings helped it climb into fifth place with $12.88 million. This is a little weaker than expected, but not a disaster, and given its reviews, it could have been one. With direct competition opening next week, it could fade away quickly. On the other hand, it likely didn't cost too much to make, so Lionsgate could have another money maker on their hands.

Placing fifth over the three-day weekend was Sherlock Holmes with $9.89 million, while it made $12.03 million over four days. In total the film has earned $182.23 million at the box office and looks to be on pace to reach $200 million. This would make it the eleventh film of 2009 to reach that milestone, which would be one of countless records set last year.

Moving onto the sophomore class, not a single new release from last week reached the top five this week. In fact, only one of them, Leap Year, reached the top ten. That film was down just 36% to $5.93 million over three days for a total of $18.77 million after eleven. Daybreakers fell 66% to just $5.19 million over the weekend and $25.32 million after two. Direct competition obviously played some role here. Meanwhile, Youth in Revolt landed in 13th place with $3.00 million over the weekend and lifted its running tally to $12.70 million as of Monday.

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Filed under: Daybreakers, The Spy Next Door, Youth in Revolt, The Book of Eli, Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Leap Year