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Sixth Number One for Avatar Gives it Number Two Overall

January 26th, 2010

January is coming to a close and we've yet to have a new release top the charts as Avatar reigned at multiplexes again this week. The weakness in the new releases is starting to take its toll, as the overall box office slumped to $144 million, which was 15% lower than last weekend and 10% lower than the same weekend last year. 2010 is still ahead of last year's pace by 9.7% at $888 million to $810 million, so there's little reason to panic at this point.

On Saturday Avatar because the second highest grossing film of all time, overtaking The Dark Knight, and it did it in just 37 days. Over the whole weekend it made $34.94 million, giving it a total of $551.74 million after six weeks of release and that was easily the biggest sixth weekend of release and the eighth biggest January weekend of all time. At this point, topping Titanic's domestic record is no longer an issue and it's time to look beyond that for the next target. For instance, could the film become the first to reach $700 million domestically?

Legion matched expectations nearly perfectly with $17.50 million over the weekend, but weaker competition meant it landed in second place instead of third. Lack of major star power and terrible reviews didn't hurt the film too much, while there are some reports than the movie cost less than $30 million to make. If those reports are true, then it could earn a profit before it reaches the home market. Even if it costs closer to the average for major studio release, $60 million or so, it should be able to break even eventually thanks to this start.

The Book of Eli matched expectations perfectly, down just over 50% to just under $16 million. $15.73 million to be specific. Meanwhile its running tally rose to $60.74 million after just 10 days of release, which is almost as much as The Taking of Pelham 123, Denzel Washington's previous release earned in total. By this time next week it should reach $75 million, while it has a slim chance at reaching $100 million in total.

The Tooth Fairy missed expectations with $14.01 million, which was only enough for fourth place. There were a number of reasons why it stumbled out of the gate, include its reviews and the direct competition. With a reported $48 million budget, the kid-friendly film should do reasonably well on the home market, and that could be its saving grace.

Rounding out the top five was The Lovely Bones with $8.42 million over the weekend for a total of $31.24 million. It should come close to matching original expectations, but it likely cost $100 million to make and advertise, so it will need to do well internationally and on the home market to show a profit any time soon.

The last wide release of the week was Extraordinary Measures, which failed to reach the top five and debuted in eighth place with just $6.01 million in more than 2,500 theaters. Its reviews were poor, but not that poor; after all, it barely topped the Mendoza Line. The ad campaign has to shoulder a lot of the blame here. Perhaps CBS Films assumed it would be able to use its network connections to bolster the movie's box office chances. It has another shot at box office success with The Back-Up Plan in April.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find The Spy Next Door in tenth place with just $4.58 million over the weekend and $18.54 million after two. At this point, only a low production budget will save the film.

One final note, over the weekend Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel reached $200 million at the box office. That extends 2009's record to nine $200 million movies, and it won't be last film from 2009 to reach that milestone.


Filed under: The Spy Next Door, Tooth Fairy, The Book of Eli, Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Legion, Extraordinary Measures, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel