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Box Office Update 1/29-1/31: Yes, Avatar Takes Another Weekend

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I said it last week and it is true still this week. In a way, I am getting a little tired of seeing Avatar at the top of the chart every weekend. On the other hand, it is awfully exciting to see a movie capture the imaginations of so many people across all demographics. Say what you will about grosses in adjusted dollars, total admissions, and inflated 3D ticket prices. The arguments are valid, but in no way discount the phenomenal success of this film. Movies do not make $600 million by accident. It cannot be attributed to the fan boys or the sci-fi geeks any more than Titanic's success can be attributed to teen girls. These movies do this well by striking a chord with the public that crosses party lines and attracts all demographics.

Only time will tell if Avatar will be a classic. Personally, I feel it is borderline, but what do I know? What is not up for debate is the box office success it is enjoying; this is one to be remembered. No film has ever gone seven weekends with a gross more than $30 million. No film has had this many number one weekends in a row since Titanic. The movie is still selling out screenings and creating lines at the box office. It's a step away from entering the cultural consciousness, something no science fiction film has done since The Matrix, not that I can think of anyway.

Coming in a distant second place is Edge of Darkness, the new Martin Campbell directorial effort. This marks the return of Mel Gibson to the big screen in a leading role. It opened to tepid reviews and commercial response. It makes me wonder where Mel goes from here. I saw the film and thought it was pretty darn good. Perhaps it was the bad advertising that kept people away? In any case, the movie is quite good, Gibson still has considerable screen charisma, and the movie is well worth checking out.

Slip down to third place and you will find the romantic comedy When in Rome, a film whose plot is spurred on by the Italian city while spending precious little time there. I recognize it is not a very good film, but it won me over. It has a cute disposition and a winning charm that made me enjoy it. Well, that and Kristen Bell, who seems to hold it all together. It is not one I would say you need to rush out and see, but if you are so inclined you could do a lot worse.

The rest of the chart is filled with returning titles that enjoyed relatively small dips in their box office. That is, except for Legion, which fell nearly 60% and actually deserved it. That is not a good movie.

Next week will see a bald John Travolta shooting up Paris in From Paris With Love. We also get to see the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, Dear John, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried. Also, in much more limited fashion, Adam Green's latest effort Frozen, starring Shawn Ashmore.

Two movies dropped off the list this week: Extraordinary Measures (13) and The Spy Next Door (15).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 1 Avatar $31,280,029 $595,752,416 7
2 N Edge of Darkness $17,214,384 $17,214,384 1
3 N When in Rome $12,350,041 $12,350,041 1
4 4 The Tooth Fairy $9,998,109 $26,104,387 3
5 3 The Book of Eli $8,908,286 $74,511,765 2
6 2 Legion $7,176,375 $29,022,786 3
7 5 The Lovely Bones $4,726,828 $38,005,738 8
8 6 Sherlock Holmes $4,515,344 $197,601,522 6
9 7 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel $3,997,136 $209,294,997 6
10 9 It's Complicated $3,804,215 $104,111,035 6

Box Office Predictions Recap

With the exceptions of my overestimation of Edge of Darkness and underestimation of Tooth Fairy, this proved to be a pretty good week in Prediction Land. This holds true for both sides of the chart. If not for my Tooth Fairy gaffe I could have nailed the top ten. Still, I am more than happy with how I fared against the actuals. I am still in awe of what Avatar has been doing each week. Amazing.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual

Prediction

Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 Avatar $31,280,029 $28 million
2 2 Edge of Darkness $17,214,384 $23 million

3

3 When in Rome $12,350,041 $13 million
5 4 The Book of Eli $8,908,286 $9 million
6 5 Legion $7,176,375

$7.5million

4 6 Tooth Fairy $9,998,109 $6.5 million
7 7 The Lovely Bones $4,726,828 $5 million
8 8 Sherlock Holmes $4,515,344 $4 million
9 9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel $3,997,136 $3.5 million
10 10 It's Complicated $3,804,215 $3 million
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