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'Dear John' Unseats 'Avatar' At The Box Office

With 84 percent female audience, romantic drama overpowers James Cameron's latest on Super Bowl weekend.

Box-Office Top Five

#1 [movie id="421406"]"Dear John"[/movie] ($32.4 million)

#2 [movie id="301495"]"Avatar"[/movie] ($23.6 million)

#3 [movie id="412013"]"From Paris With Love"[/movie] ($8.1 million)

#4 [movie id="389883"]"Edge of Darkness"[/movie] ($7 million)

#5 [movie id="382467"]"Tooth Fairy"[/movie] ($6.5 million)

"The Book of Eli," "Edge of Darkness" and several other recent films [article id="1630921"]failed to conquer "Avatar"[/article] in their respective opening weekends, but [article id="1631233"]romantic drama "Dear John"[/article] rose to the occasion and dethroned the box-office juggernaut for a first-place victory worth $32.4 million.

From Friday through Sunday, "Dear John" earned enough in domestic ticket sales alone to recoup its entire $25 million production budget. It's a somewhat surprising result for the movie, as distributor Screen Gems had anticipated a $20 million intake over the course of the Super Bowl weekend. But thanks to the bolstered support of an 84 percent female audience, with two-thirds of viewers younger than 21 years old, "Dear John" was able to pick up the ball, blitz the box office and tackle "Avatar" in the process.

While James Cameron's latest has bested his own "Titanic" in almost every meaningful record to date, "Avatar" wasn't able to hold on to the top box-office spot for the same length of time as the 1997 Oscar winner. "Titanic" stayed at #1 for 17 straight weeks, while "Avatar" only managed a streak of seven weekends. Additionally, with Cameron's science-fiction epic no longer the top dog at the box office, it's likely that the Fox film's prospects for staying in 3-D locations when Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" hits theaters next month have diminished significantly.

But even in light of "Avatar" 's fall from first place, it's well worth mentioning that the movie's record-breaking success and worldwide tally of over $2 billion is unlikely to be matched anytime soon. "Dear John" may have taken the weekend crown, but "Avatar" remains the current king of the cinematic world.

The remainder of the top five finishers brought in lackluster results when compared to "Dear John" and "Avatar." Debuting action film "From Paris With Love" and Martin Campbell's "Edge of Darkness" saw mild performances of $8.1 million and $7 million respectively, while "Tooth Fairy" suffered a 35 percent drop from last weekend for a fifth-place finish.

Upcoming Releases

Next weekend sees the release of three very different but nonetheless competitive entries into the box-office arena. Universal's "The Wolfman" seeks to win over horror fans, Fox's "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" hopes to electrify moviegoers, and Warner Brothers' "Valentine's Day" aims to woo the upcoming romantic holiday's celebrants.

Check out everything we've got on "Dear John" and "Avatar."

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