Weekend Box Office (January 15 - 18, 2010)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND For a fifth straight weekend James Cameron's Avatar controlled the box office setting another milestone as it moved past Star Wars into third place on the all-time domestic box office chart. Watch out Dark Knight, you're next.

The unstoppable force that is Avatar brought in another $54.4M, according to final four-day for the Martin Luther King holiday session, bringing its 32-day total to an other-worldly $504.9M. Internationally, the film has now made $1.1B, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from Titanic's current record of $1.2B. Combined, the 3D sci-fi adventure flick has made an astounding $1.6B worldwide in only five weeks and the only question now is when it'll beat Titanic, not if.

Avatar set new industry records for the fastest to the $500M mark beating Dark Knight which needed 45 days, and the best fifth weekend gross besting Titanic's $30M from a dozen years ago this frame.

The Book of Eli gave it a valiant effort, but fell short this weekend, taking in $38.4M over four days. That's good enough to give Denzel Washington his second biggest opening weekend ever, behind only 2007's American Gangster which shot up $43M in its opening weekend on its way to a final gross of $130M. The Book of Eli averaged a very strong $12,355 this weekend over four days which could portend good things for the future.

Rising up to third place this weekend after a nationwide rollout was Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones. The movie version of the best-selling novel brought in $19.9M for an above average per-screen take of $7,768. Reviews had been mixed for the dark tale of a murdered girl who narrates her life from the beyond, but apparently there were enough fans of the book that wanted to see the film regardless of the reviews.

Fourth place went to the squeaky Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel which sang to the tune of $15.3M this weekend. Its total now stands at $196.4M, which is just a stone's throw from the original's $217.3M final total.

Debuting softly in fifth place was Jackie Chan in The Spy Next Door. The spy-turned-babysitter film took in $12.9M this weekend for a per-screen average of only $4,404. Apparently families have not had their fill of singing rodents leaving Mr. Chan and his brood out in the cold.

Sixth place went to the dashing duo Holmes and Watson as Sherlock Holmes brought in another $12M bringing its cume to $182.2M.

Universal took the next two spots on the chart with It's Complicated and Leap Year. Complicated took in $9.6M in its fourth weekend of release bringing its total to $90.2M and a shot at the $100M mark definitely within reach. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Leap Year, starring Amy Adams, which fell from last weekend to $7.1M. Its total stands at $18.8M and should end its run with around $35M.

In ninth place was the surprise hit of the season, The Blind Side which just keeps rolling along, this time taking in $7M bringing its total to a tremendous $228.2M. And in tenth was George Clooney's award-bait Up in the Air which fell to $6.5M. The total now stands at $63.9M with a lot more to come if it can win a few major awards in the next few weeks.

A couple of last weekend's debuts dropped heavily in their sophomore frame as Daybreakers fell to $6.1M over four days and Youth in Revolt tumbled to $3.6M. Totals are $25.3M and $12.7M respectively, with not a lot more left in the tanks.

Compared to three-day projections, The Book of Eli came in just above my $28M forecast, while The Spy Next Door came in just below my $12M prediction. And The Lovely Bones blasted by my $7M projection.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Check the UPDATED all-time domestic blockbusters list.

For reviews of Avatar and The Lovely Bones and a NEW DVD review of Like Stars on Earth visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Extreme Measures, The Tooth Fairy and Legion all try and take down the Avatar juggernaut.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Jan 15 - 18 Jan 8 - 10 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Avatar $ 54,401,446 $ 50,306,217 8.1 3,285 5 $ 16,561 $ 504,868,451 Fox
2 The Book of Eli 38,437,553 3,111 1 12,355 38,437,553 Warner Bros.
3 The Lovely Bones 19,910,348 38,572 2,563 4 7,768 20,377,011 Paramount
4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 15,305,808 16,566,489 -7.6 3,296 4 4,644 196,397,651 Fox
5 The Spy Next Door 12,877,043 2,924 1 4,404 12,877,043 Lionsgate
6 Sherlock Holmes 12,033,507 16,585,327 -27.4 3,173 4 3,792 182,226,907 Warner Bros.
7 It's Complicated 9,622,810 11,007,875 -12.6 2,673 4 3,600 90,174,635 Universal
8 Leap Year 7,071,470 9,202,815 -23.2 2,512 2 2,815 18,772,640 Universal
9 The Blind Side 6,972,350 7,531,467 -7.4 2,408 9 2,895 228,181,615 Warner Bros.
10 Up in the Air 6,530,101 7,159,294 -8.8 2,107 7 3,099 63,902,772 Paramount
11 Daybreakers 6,132,472 15,146,692 -59.5 2,523 2 2,431 25,320,873 Lionsgate
12 The Princess and the Frog 4,004,707 4,651,156 -13.9 1,777 8 2,254 97,534,038 Buena Vista
13 Youth in Revolt 3,560,612 6,888,334 -48.3 1,873 2 1,901 12,699,944 Weinstein Co.
14 The Imaginarium of Doctor... 1,316,438 1,762,637 -25.3 599 4 2,198 5,068,329 Sony Classics
15 The Young Victoria 1,153,976 1,180,595 -2.3 418 5 2,761 6,308,737 Apparition
16 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 1,134,419 1,703,809 -33.4 724 9 1,567 292,434,830 Summit
17 A Single Man 996,546 359,845 176.9 219 6 4,550 3,473,595 Weinstein Co.
18 Invictus 992,925 1,722,246 -42.3 602 6 1,649 35,161,677 Warner Bros.
19 Crazy Heart 858,369 462,126 85.7 47 5 18,263 2,285,965 Fox Searchlight
20 Nine 724,241 1,614,900 -55.2 422 5 1,716 18,291,144 Weinstein Co.
Top 5 $ 140,932,198 $ 109,612,600 28.6
Top 10 183,162,436 145,045,666 26.3
Top 20 204,037,141 156,467,940 30.4
Top 20 vs. MLK 2009 204,037,141 220,294,774 -7.4

Last Updated: January 19, 2010 at 6:30PM ET