“Dear John” will go down in cinematic history and not just because it may be one of Channing Tatum’s biggest hits ever without the words “G.I. Joe” in the title, but because it’s the film that knocked “Avatar” from the top of the box office charts.
The Sci-Fi phenomenon may have landed nine Oscar nominations on Tuesday, but that wasn’t enough to stave off the passionate fanbase of Nicolas Sparks novel. “Dear John” pulled in an amazing $13.8 million on Friday. This is especially impressive considering the massive snow storm that slowed much of the Northeast to a halt on Friday. Sunday’s Super Bowl should diminish the overall weekend for “John,” but a $30 million start is a superb kick off for the melodrama. It’s also a record opening day for Sony’s Screen Gems division suprassing “The Exorcism of Emily Rose’s” $11.3 million back in 2005. With good word of mouth, there is no reason it can’t hit the $100 million mark unlike Sparks’ “The Notebook” which topped out at $81 million.
As for “Avatar,” don’t cry for James Cameron or 20th Century Fox. Friday’s $6.1 million gross brings the overall domestic cume to $612.6 million and is just more profit in the bucket for all those involved. As for the three-day, “Avatar” could still hit $20 million, but the previously mentioned weather and Super Bowl will certainly affect the gross.
Among other openers, the John Travolta thriller “From Paris With Love” didn’t find much affection as it grossed only $3 million. The Lionsgate release was a tough sell with a title that didn’t really convey the film’s action and sounded more like a romance than anything else. It could do anywhere from $7-8 million for the weekend. This would be Travolta’s worst opening weekend since “Lucky Numbers” did an insanely bad $4.5 million in 2000.
Also notable, “Crazy Heart” expanded to over 800 theaters for $1.2 million on Friday. That’s the strongest bump for any film with Oscar nominations. “Heart” received nods for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song.
Look for complete weekend box office estimates tomorrow on HitFix.