Avatar Box-Office Update: Chi'na Swoons on Opening Day

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The debate about what Avatar can and can't make at the box office has finally reached China, where the blockbuster took in 33.03 million yuan on its opening day. That amounts to about $4.8 million, which nobody in the country's state-run film office can verify as a record but is presumed to be the first step to knocking off 2012's record 460 million yuan ($67.3 million) in the month ahead. So where does James Cameron's mint stand overall to date?

Well, it's a lot. As noted here over the weekend, I was more than a little conservative in my forecast for when Avatar might break a billion dollars worldwide, and as of Tuesday the film was flirting with the $1.1 billion mark. By Monday the film's holiday run had cooled off somewhat, knocking it all the way down to $8 million for the day -- its lowest-yet daily take by more than 50 percent. But! Perspective is key, as one analyst reminds us: That is still the third-highest grossing third Monday ever, behind The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (whose third Monday fell on Dec. 26) and Twister (whose third Monday fell on Memorial Day).

And now, with China approving? Yuan fire, Jim Cameron. (Sorry.)

· Avatar races to $4.8M opening day in China [AP]



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