Hollywood Ink: Avatar Bow Upped to $77 Million, Just Short of Record


· It's official: Avatar's actual opening-weekend gross has been confirmed at $77 million, just $211,321 shy of I Am Legend's all-time best December debut. There can be no doubt now that Mother Nature herself is to blame for the slim shortfall, having reportedly dumped more than a foot of multiplex-crippling snow on the East Coast as payback for perceived sexual offenses against Pandora's peaceful banshee community. [Variety]

Up in the Air offers something for nothing, a pair of festival gems ready themselves for a theater (sort of) near you, and more Hollywood Ink after the jump.

· So what's the going rate for egregious product placement in a 2009 Best Picture candidate? Apparently not a penny more than $0: American Airlines traded the producers of Up in the Air access to its terminals and at least one grounded plane for the splattering of its brand all over the film. Hilton Hotels did the same with several of its own properties, a transaction I can't wait to see dramatized in the 48th season of Mad Men. [NYT]

· The spellbinding, surreal TIFF documentary Videocracy, which explores the media culture of Italy through its prime mogul (and prime minister) Silvio Berlusconi, was acquired for US distribution this week by Lorber Films. [THR]

· IFC Films, meanwhile, picked up the SXSW darling The Overbrook Brothers, about three estranged siblings who hit the road looking for their parents. The film will arrive Feb. 17 on the company's video-on-demand platform and possibly drop in for a limited theatrical run in New York. [Screen Daily]

· Sperm donors are the new vampires! Or... something: The day after the donor drama The Kids Are Alright landed at Sundance, director Carlos Ramos Jr. is attached to direct the comedy Unleaded, about a man whose declining sperm count compels him to look for a woman to reproduce with. [THR]