Weekend Receipts: Fly, Toruk, Fly


It's 2010. Things are so much different from how we predicted they might turn out back in 1984 -- a spacefaring future populated by pugnacious Russian cosmonauts resembling Helen Mirren with a permmullet. Back then, the most satisfying narrative experience to come out of a computer was Zork III: The Dungeon Master. Today, it's Avatar, which cast an ominous shadow upon challengers this weekend as it flapped across the billion-dollar mark. Who will tame the mighty Avatar?

1. Avatar

Gross: $68,300,000 (cume: $352,111,000)

Screens: 3,461 (PSA: $19,734)

Weeks: 3 (Change: -9.7%)

Our prediction that Avatar would reach 10-figures internationally somewhere around the middle of the month turned out to be a little conservative, as James Cameron's blockbusting behemoth surpassed that rare milestone over the New Year's weekend. Its $68.3 million haul, just a 9% drop, blows away Spider-Man's record of $45 million for a film in its third week. The next step: sinking Titanic -- entirely achievable when you consider how the two compared in the same time frame.

2. Sherlock Holmes

Gross: $38,385,000 (cume: $140,675,000)

Screens: 3,626 (PSA: $10,586)

Weeks: 2 (Change: -38.5%)

3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Gross: $36,600,000 (cume: $157,345,000)

Screens: 3,747 (PSA: $9,768)

Weeks: 2 (Change: -25.1%)

Featuring neither a heavy-handed environmental message nor the ability for its two lovestruck leads to entwine mustache tendrils for a round of hot and sweaty communal deduction is Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, which nonetheless held steady in second-place. Those rascally chipmunks also held on to their spot. And as much as I tried this weekend, I couldn't quite evade those high-pitched Alvin commercials that send me hurling towards the remote, as though it were the antidote to a quick-acting nerve gas shooting out of my TV's speakers.

4. It's Complicated

Gross: $18,700,000 (cume: $59,105,000)

Screens: 2,897 (PSA: $6,455)

Weeks: 2 (Change: -15.4%)

A slim slip of 15% proves once again that Meryl Streep's got legs, and knows how to use 'em. She's alright.

5. The Blind Side

Gross: $12,650,000 (cume: $209,052,000)

Screens: 2,926 (PSA: $4,323)

Weeks: 7 (Change: +10.3%)

Seven weeks into its historic run, the Sandra Bullock sleeper phenom managed to up its take by over 10%, landing it back in the top five and further popularizing its inspirational catchphrase, Who Would Jesus Tackle?

[All charts and figures courtesy of Box Office Mojo.]


  • SaltySue says:

    I'm thinking Avatar will by pass Titanic, it's only a matter of how soon. However, my question is why don't studios measure success by the number of tickets sold instead of how much money was made. It seems it would be a lot more simple. Instead of having to change the total gross for inflation just stick to how many tickets were sold.
    Avatar will by pass Titanic because tickets in IMAX theaters are $16+. Did Titanic even show in IMAX theaters?

  • Tommy Marx says:

    Comparing ticket sales is a seemingly reasonable suggestion, but then it would mean that a children's or senior citizen's admission, typically discounted from regular prices, would have the same weight as someone who, yes, is willing to spend $16+ for an IMAX screening. I don't think that's fair. Yes, people are willing to spend more for a ticket to see Avatar, but that's a strength, not a weakness. It's the very definition of popularity when people who are presented with different pricing options to see the same movie choose the most expensive option.

  • It's because studios don't care about how many tickets were sold. They only care about the money.

  • NP says:

    Of course it didn't!
    p.s. I only paid $12.50 to see _Avatar_ in IMAX. I heart AMC theaters' cheap matinees.

  • SaltySue says:

    Yeah I get that, but in the end one of the main reasons Avatar made more money (or will make more money) than Titanic is because ticket sales are more expensive.
    Let's say 900,000 people went to see Titanic during it's run but only 700,000 people went to see Avatar, why is it fair to say Avatar is the more successful film?