The Box-Office Top Five
James Cameron continued his reign over the box office this weekend with a fourth-straight weekend victory for "Avatar," the 3-D science-fiction epic that has captured moviegoers' attention — and their hard-earned dollars — since its opening in mid-December. The weekend take of $48.5 million brings the film's domestic total to $429 million, which combines with the latest foreign gross of $143 million for a worldwide total of $1.34 billion.
Now that "Avatar" is officially the second-highest-grossing film of all time, attention has turned towards whether or not Cameron can beat his own record set with "Titanic," which currently sits atop a money pile worth $1.84 billion. Projections for "Avatar" are divided amongst box-office watchdogs, with some expecting Cameron's latest to catch up to his 1997 film's numbers, while others see a more difficult road ahead.
"A lot is going to depend on this next weekend, since we're not talking about a holiday weekend, finally," box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News last week. "If we do experience another drop of, say, 10, 20 percent, then yes, we may be looking at that 'Titanic' number finally crumbling. But if we see a drop of 40, 45 percent, then no, it probably won't make it."
The latest drop-off for "Avatar" stands in the middle of Bock's projections, having suffered a 29.2 percent drop from last week to this week. It's not quite a worst-case scenario, but the movie's odds of overcoming "Titanic" are certainly less likely.
For the first time since the Christmas holiday weekend, "Avatar" faced newcomers in the box-office pool, though not a single one of these competitors placed higher than fourth. "Daybreakers," the vampire thriller starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, held second place on Friday night but was ultimately topped by "Sherlock Holmes" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."
Similarly, romantic comedy "Leap Year" debuted in fifth place on Friday, but was later pushed out of the top five by holdover "It's Complicated" and landed a sixth-place finish worth $9.2 million. Michael Cera's "Youth in Revolt" barely cracked the top 10 with a $7 million ninth-place finish.
Denzel Washington brings his considerable star power to bear upon the box office next weekend with "The Book of Eli." But can the R-rated film overcome its more audience-friendly competitors? Jackie Chan's "The Spy Next Door" also opens next weekend, and Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones" expands to a grand total of 2,400 theaters.
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