At first it seemed somewhat impossible, but now the chances of “Avatar” eclipsing “Titanic’s” decade long domestic box office record of $600 million are increasing by the day.
Following a dominating $25 million New Year’s Day, James Cameron’s epic now has grossed a massive $308.8 million and could be anywhere between $340-350 million by the end of the weekend. That’s a remarkable achievement after less than three weeks in release. What could fuel a “Titanic”-like run is the film’s “must see” word of mouth and an Oscar run through February. There is still a lot of competition along the way including the Winter Olympics off screen, but over $500 million is already likely. $600 million plus? Place your bets.
During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” consistently placed right behind “Avatar,” while Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes” slid into third and seemed to be losing some momentum. Further investigating will find, however, that “Holmes” made a comeback on New Year’s Day with $14.9 million and a new domestic total of $117.2 million. If you were to tell WB only a few weeks ago that “Avatar” would have made won almost every day of the holiday break and “Holmes” would have also grossed a $100 million plus tally during that same time period they may not have believed you. It’s just another example of how America returned to the movies in 2009. As for “Sherlock,” the Robert Downey, Jr. hit should finish close or past $200 million when all is said and done. Oh, and a new franchise is born.
“Alvin” deux isn’t doing too badly, though. The “Squeakuel” found another $13 million on Jan. 1st for a new cume of $133.7 million. There is very little family film competition in January so the CG animation/live action hybrid should keep raking in the dough for some time.
Holding steady in fourth was “It’s Complicated” with another $7.1 million and $57.3 million so far. Depending on how awards season goes, “Complicated” could end up with anywhere from $80-100 million after all the ballots are tabulated.
Rounding out the top five was Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side.” The small town phenomenon made $4.5 million on Friday narrowly edging out “Up in the Air’s” $4 million. More importantly, “Blind” side passed the $200 million mark becoming one of the true sleeper hits of the year and cementing Bullock’s comeback status (although we still wouldn’t mind a “Miss Congeniality 3”).
Showing no sign of growth, but holding steady, Rob Marshall’s beleaguered musical “Nine” grossed $1.5 million on Friday for a new total of $9.8 million. After initially telling The Los Angeles Times they planned to pull the film back from some of it’s 1,400 plus theaters, The Weinstein Company did an about face and decided to stay “nationwide” even though the picture is only playing in the coastal big cities (if that). More curious though is whether the company can even hold onto those theaters over the next few weeks as new competition arrives. They are certainly hoping a big Golden Globe win for Best Picture – comedy or Musical can reignite their box office tallies.
Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.