Weekend Receipts: Avatar Avalanched
Weather. It's the one thing James Cameron couldn't control about Avatar's big opening weekend, and it may have proven costly. Box-office theorists will long debate if and/or how a few feet of snow over the Northeast kept people from the Biggest Movie Ever, but for now, the director and his Fox patrons will have to be content with taking what nature -- and America -- gave them. That number and the weekend's other top finishers follow the jump.
Gross: $73,000,000 (new)
Screens: 3,452 (PSA: $21,147)
A solid Friday launch set Avatar up for a run at the movies' best-ever December opening, but a slowdown on Saturday and Sunday -- at least partly attributable to storms that crushed the East Coast, emptying streets of everything but snow and the people shoveling it -- stalled it well short of I Am Legend's $77.2 million in 2007. (And it may ultimately slide into third overall behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's $72.6 million by the time actuals are tallied on Monday.) Snow aside, it also goes to show that you can have all the marketable critical support in the world, but it's not until Ben Lyons infamously blurbs your film as one of the greatest movies ever made that you can really flirt with history this time of year.
2. The Princess and the Frog
Gross: $12,224,000 (cume: $44,756,000)
Screens: 3,475 (PSA: $3,518)
Weeks: 4 (Change: -49.5%)
Meanwhile, the nearly 50 percent plunge for this one probably had something to do with the weather as well -- as in, if you're a kid, the choice between hours of sledding and snow-angel making or watching Disney's return to hand-drawn animation really isn't much of a choice at all.
3. The Blind Side
Gross: $10,030,000 (cume: $164,734,000)
Screens: 3,407 (PSA: $2,944)
Weeks: 5 (Change: -33.4%)
The Blind Side's first weekend after Sandra Bullock's Golden Globe nomination was another eye-popper, finally nudging the film past The Proposal as Bullock's highest-grossing release. Can it break $200 million? Sure it can: Probably the first weekend after her Oscar nomination. It's coming.
4. Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Gross: $7,000,000 (new)
Screens: 2,718 (PSA: $2,575)
Yes, Sony, everybody heard about the Morgans. And we all send our condolences.
5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Gross: $4,370,000 (cume: $274,561,000)
Screens: 3,035 (PSA: $1,440)
Weeks: 5 (Change: -45.1%)
Fun fact: The first Twilight film had been in release for 14 weeks and had pared down to barely 400 theaters before it had a per-screen average this low. That is all.