Senior Editor
12.21.09 16 Comments

James Cameron’s Avatar opened this weekend, and with a budget of anywhere between $300 and $500 million depending on who you ask, people were expecting huge numbers.  And it, uh… delivered?  Sorta?

$73 million on approximately 7,000 screens at 3,452 sites over the weekend, claiming the highest-grossing opening ever for a movie that’s neither a sequel, a remake nor a direct adaptation (though others had greater attendance). It was also the second highest-grossing December opening weekend after I Am Legend ($77.2 million).  [Box Office Mojo]

UPDATE: Variety’s updated numbers show Avatar beating I Am Legend with $77.3 mil.

Losing to I Am Legend?   A little surprising.  But (and I’ve got a review coming at some point today), it doesn’t really matter what the critics say about it or how much money it makes, it’s going to become a part of pop culture the way T2 and Titanic did.  And with all the blue boobs, quivering cat ears, and curious tails, it’ll be one small step for 3D technology, one giant leap for the fetish porn community.

Shockingly, Did You Hear About the Morgans? didn’t make much money.  That tends to happen when you make a movie based on a business plan from the 30s.  You can’t expect your phone to compete with the iPhone if it’s just two Dixie cups held together with string that you paid Julia Roberts to endorse.

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 Avatar $73,000,000 $21,147 $73,000,000
2 The Princess and the Frog $12,224,000 (-49.5%) $3,518 $44,756,000
3 The Blind Side $10,030,000 (-33.4%) $2,944 $164,734,000
4 Did You Hear About the Morgans? $7,000,000 $2,575 $7,000,000
5 New Moon $4,370,000 (-45.1%) $1,440 $274,561,000
6 Invictus $4,170,000 (-51.6%) $1,962 $15,845,000
7 A Christmas Carol $3,419,000 (-50.0%) $1,652 $130,789,000
8 Up in the Air $3,100,000 (+29.5%) $17,714 $8,106,000
9 Brothers $2,630,000 (-47.6%) $1,309 $22,091,000
10 Old Dogs $2,289,000 (-48.1%) $870 $43,574,000

[via CHUD, Box Office Mocos]

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