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Box Office Update 1/1-1/3: Avatar, What Else Do You Need to Know?

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Welcome to this week's top ten box office list. It looks a lot like last week's list. With no new movies arriving to herald in the new year, there was very little movement among the films from last week to this. As a matter of fact, you have to go all the way down to eighth place to see a change. The last three films switch around a little bit, but it is nothing to be all that concerned with. This week may not have much to talk about in the movement of films, but it makes up for it with the a couple of big success stories.

If you start at the top of the chart you will find a little movie called Avatar. Perhaps you have heard of it?  James Cameron's science fiction adventure is a marvel of technology and design. It is hands down the best 3D film I have seen yet. Beyond that, the world that Cameron has created is a beautiful and unique creation. It is the sort of world you can spend days talking about and thinking about how it works and how everything fits together. Not only is it interesting like that, but the technology involved and the way Cameron integrates reality and effects signals a turn in effects technology. It will be interesting to see other filmmakers make use of these new techniques.

Now, as great as the film is, there is something a little more relevant to talk about. Have you seen the money it has been making? Three weekends in and it is already the second biggest film of 2009, has talks of potentially being able to unseat Titanic (ironically, another Cameron film) as the biggest domestic hit, and at the very least surpass The Dark Knight. It has also become the first film ever to have three straight weeks top $65 million. Seriously, the previous third weekend record was The Dark Knight's $45 million. Can you believe that? The legs that Avatar has shown surpasses anything that I expected. Of course, it has had a little help from the holidays, but this still transcends any help the holiday could have provided. It will be interesting to see just how it will go. It has already passed the $350 million mark.

As big as Avatar is, there is another film making box office records. The Blind Side is a movie that came out of nowhere. I still have not seen it and do not really feel the drive to see it, but there is no denying its success. The inspirational drama has crossed the $200 million mark, which has to be a surprise to just about anyone involved. I would have guessed a final tally in the $60 million range and I would have been wrong. Besides crossing the double century mark, it has become the first film to reach that mark on the strength of a female lead. In other words, the film is billed on the strength of Sandra Bullock's name alone as the big star of the cast — no other film with a female as the sole lead has ever made so much money. My congratulations to Sandra Bullock and all involved.

So far as the rest of the list goes, there is really nothing particularly special happening. All of the films had pretty good holds from last week. Again, there was no new competition. Next week will be more interesting as everyone is heading back to work and school from the holidays and 2010 offers its first new releases of the year.

Next week brings three new films to theaters nationwide. Daybreakers brings another take on vampires to the screen (from the directors of Undead) and hopefully wash out the bad taste of Twilight vampires. Leap Year sees Amy Adams flying across the pond to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day only to discover adventure and perhaps someone else. Finally, we have Youth in Revolt, the new Michael Cera vehicle where a quiet teen creates an adventurous alter ego to impress a girl.

No movies dropped off the list this week.

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 1 Avatar $68,490,688 $352,114,898 3
2 2 Sherlock Holmes $36,612,481 $138,715,437 2
3 3 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel $35,189,653 $155,916,935 2
4 4 It's Complicated $18,802,965 $59,178,840 2
5 5 The Blind Side $11,912,749 $208,476,067 7
6 6 Up in the Air $10,720,052 $44,374,918 5
7 7 The Princess and the Frog $9,824,311 $85,859,339 6
8 9 Did You Hear About the Morgans? $4,932,338 $25,312,384 3
9 10 Invictus $3,909,312 $30,586,445 4
10 8 Nine $3,901,203 $13,745,956 3
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