Weekend Report: ‘Avatar’ Obtains More Records in Fourth Outing
The holidays are over, but Avatar was relatively unfazed, defying "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" adage. Over the weekend, Avatar generated $50.3 million, breaking the record for biggest fourth weekend gross previously held by Titanic's $28.7 million. It was down just 27 percent, giving it the best hold among nationwide releases. Its IMAX venues alone were down 14 percent, accounting for an estimated $7.5 million of the weekend.

Avatar raged past the $400 million mark in a mere 23 days, the second-fastest to the mark behind only The Dark Knight. Its $430.8 million tally by day 24 made it the top-grossing movie from 2009, beating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, as well as the seventh-highest grossing picture of all time, surpassing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. On Monday, Avatar will top Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, to claim fifth place. In terms of attendance, though, Avatar would likely barely make the Top 100, which is still sensational. That's due in part to the ticket price premium of the picture's 3D presentations. 3D has made up $335.4 million or 78 percent of the total.

Internationally, Avatar also shattered the fourth week record, pulling in $150.5 million from 110 countries (essentially everywhere but Italy, where it opens Jan. 15). That was a bit more than the previous week, bolstered by its debut in China, where it made $41.4 million since Monday, setting records for opening week and single day there. Its foreign total shot up to $910.8 million mark, led by France ($101.4 million), Russia ($78.4 million and the country's all time No. 1 gross), Germany ($73.4 million), the United Kingdom ($67.1 million), Spain ($60.1 million and another all time No. 1) and Australia ($57.9 million, yet another all time No. 1). Throw in the domestic gross and Avatar's worldwide tally stood at $1.34 billion, marching ever closer to Titanic's $1.84 billion all time benchmark.

Back to domestic, while Avatar was down 27 percent, Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel had more typical 55 and 53 percent drops, respectively. Sherlock grossed $16.6 million, lifting its total to $165.2 million in 17 days, while Alvin made $16.6 million, raising its tally to $178.5 million in 19 days. Both pictures cracked the Top Ten of highest-grossing movies never to reach No. 1 on a weekend: Alvin ranks sixth, while Sherlock ranks tenth.

Three pictures opened nationwide but packed relatively little bite. Daybreakers harvested $15.1 million at 2,523 sites, ranking middle of the pack among vampire opening weekends and making less than 30 Days of Night and the Underworld series among similar movies. More modest, Leap Year drew $9.2 million at 2,511 sites, and Youth in Revolt nabbed $6.9 million at 1,873 sites.

Last Weekend

'Avatar' Rocks New Year's

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2009 -
'Gran Torino' Muscles In

• 2008 - 'Bucket List' Lives It Up

• 2007 - 'Museum,' 'Pursuit' Three-peat

• 2006 - 'Hostel' Lodges Into Top Spot

• 2005 - 'White Noise' Resonates

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Weekend Box Office Results

All Time 4th Weekends

• Fastest to $400 Million

• All Time Never No. 1

• 2009 Grosses

• All Time Grosses (Domestic)

• All Time Grosses (Worldwide)

• Vampire Opening Weekends