The Box-Office Top Five
After five weeks in theaters, director James Cameron's "Avatar" continues its streak of weekend victories, amassing $41.3 million over the course of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The result puts the science-fiction epic at $492 million in America, making "Avatar" the third-highest-grossing movie of all time domestically, behind "The Dark Knight" at $533.3 million and "Titanic" at $600 million. If the momentum continues, Cameron's latest could easily challenge his own current record for the top domestic spot.
Regardless of the stateside record, "Avatar" is already the second-highest-grossing movie of all time at $1.62 billion, only $200 million less than the current record for "Titanic." Hot off the heels of Golden Globe wins for Best Drama and Best Director, the chances of "Avatar" barreling past the ill-fated passenger steamship remain strong.
That's not to say that Cameron's latest was without its difficulties this weekend. In a rare occurrence, "Avatar" briefly surrendered first place to "The Book of Eli," the Denzel Washington thriller that debuted on Friday. Washington's charismatic presence and the film's post-apocalyptic setting ultimately couldn't stand against the lush world of Pandora, resulting in a $31.5 million second-place finish for "Eli."
Third place went to Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones," which earned $17.1 million by Monday's conclusion. The afterlife-focused drama first debuted in December, though this weekend saw the film's widest release yet at more than 2,500 theaters.
"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" was able to maintain a spot in the top five, as was "Sherlock Holmes," which edged out newcomer "The Spy Next Door" with a $9.8 million haul that bested the Jackie Chan flick's $9.7 million. The win was sweetened by Robert Downey Jr.'s victory at the Golden Globes on Sunday for his performance in "Holmes."
Although "Eli" proved no match for "Avatar," could the Na'vi of Pandora meet their match in the form of "Tooth Fairy," Dwayne Johnson's upcoming family comedy? Other new releases include the horror thriller "Legion" and "Extraordinary Measures," a new drama from Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser.