You can’t stop James Cameron’s “Avatar.” The Golden Globe winner for Best Motion Picture – Drama found another $9.1 million on Friday for a new U.S. total of $525 million. Fox is quietly confident the Oscar frontrunner can hit the staggering $2 billion mark worldwide and at this point, only the strong tracking “Dear John” looks like it can knock it out of the top spot.
As for the newcomers, Paul Bettany’s action debut “Legion” opened in the second slot with $6.7 million and a possible weekend gross between $16-18 million. That has to be a tad disappointing or Screen Gems who were hoping to create a new franchise around the dismally reviewed flick and already have a second Bettany vehicle, “Priest,” in post-production.
Dwayne Johnson may be suffering from family flick fatigue. After the disappointing results of “Race to Witch Mountain,” Fox’s “The Tooth Fairy” found only $3.5 million under the covers Friday night. Even with strong matinees on Saturday the comedy is looking at $12-14 million at best.
Even more disturbing was CBS Films’ inaugural release “Extraordinary Measures.” The Harrison Ford/Brendan Fraser melodrama found only $2 million on Friday for what should be a $7 million weekend. Considering the massive amount of advertising CBS spent on the picture, this is a huge disappointment. For comparison, Overture Films debuted with “Mad Money” almost two years ago on the same weekend and grossed a similar $2.3 million. CBS is hoping for better results with the Jennifer Lopez “The Back-up Plan” and the teen fantasy “Beastly.”
Last week’s second place finisher “Book of Eli,” dropped over 50% from its opening Friday for another $4.9 million. With another $15 million this weekend, “Eli” is well on its way to finishing in the profitable $80 million range.
Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.