1. Avatar - $41M - $491.8M
2. The Book of Eli - $31.6 - $31.6M
3. The Lovely Bones - $17M - $17.5M
4. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - $11.5M - $192.5M
5. Sherlock Holmes - $9.8M - $180M
6. The Spy Next Door - $9.7M - $9.7M
7. It's Complicated - $7.6M - $88.2M
8. Leap Year - $5.8 - $17.5M
9. The Blind Side - $5.7 - $226.7M
10. Up In the Air - $5.4M - $62.8M
The Martin Luther King holiday means a bonus day for all releases this weekend, with Monday's takes being similar to those usually associated with a Saturday. Avatar faced its first serious competition since Sherlock Holmes this weekend, in the guise of The Book of Eli. Could Avatar finally be displaced?
Well, almost. Losing Friday to The Book of Eli, Avatar stepped up a notch as Eli's front loading kicked in on the Saturday, allowing Cameron's record breaker to regain the top spot for Saturday, Sunday and the weekend as a whole - ended up down just 18% on last weekend. We know Avatar has won the weekend, it's fifth straight weekend at number one and the biggest Martin Luther King Holiday weekend take in cinematic history, so let's look to were it's heading. We're now approaching the very real possibility that Avatar is going to become the biggest film of all time - a feat that looked next to impossible only six weeks ago. On the domestic front Avatar needs just $108M to overtake Titanic, and by next weekend it should surpass the only other film standing in its way, The Dark Knight.
There's upcoming competition but the film still has over six weeks before Alice in Wonderland robs it of its 3D enabled screens. That should be more than enough time for Avatar given that many Imax/3D screenings tickets are still selling very well, with many screenings sold out during the weekend. Internationally, at the time of writing, Avatar needs around $310M to become the biggest worldwide release of all time. A bigger figure to attain for certain, but it's also a bigger market and like its domestic performance, Avatar continues to see sell out screenings around the world. In a month's time, will we be looking at a new champion? With little major competition next weekend, expect Avatar to see a sixth weekend at number one and to possibly obtain the biggest sixth weekend record.
The Hughes Brothers return to directing after a nine year hiatus. A falling out, a lack of funding or a lack of workable scripts have all been mentioned as reasons for their extended break (not to mention the kicking they received with their last directorial effort, From Hell) but this weekend they return with the Denzel Washington post-apocalypse thriller, The Book of Eli. Set in a world not dissimilar to that witnessed in The Road, The Book of Eli sees Washington as a lone warrior tasked with taking a book across a scorched America, perhaps bringing salvation to the people in the process. Trailers revealed a bloody, action packed thriller while early word was cautiously strong. Reviews weren't so kind but they're generally of little concern to such a feature.
Friday's opening was strong, and was the first time Avatar had been bested since the Christmas Day release of Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, as the weekend wore on, it seemed the film was a little too front loaded, falling behind Avatar on Saturday and Sunday. That said, the film's $31M opening take is quite a strong one for an R-rated flick, but there's still a long way to go before it'll see its $80M budget. Next weekend it'll face off against Legion but if word of mouth remains strong, it should see an acceptable hold and may be the first release of 2010 to see $100M. Next weekend's drop will be more telling in that regard.
Our second new entry is the Peter Jackson adaptation of The Lovely Bones, Alice Seabold's best-seller. The film has been in a limited release for a lot longer than normal, especially for a for film that would be seeing a wide expansion. Things hadn't gone well for the film - Ryan Gosling dropped out of filming and was quickly replaced by Mark Walhberg. There then followed an extended production schedule which at one point saw the film readying for release early 2009, before vanishing to the end of that year. Rumours of eleventh hour filming didn't help matters and reviews have been well below average - with Oscar talk disappearing almost instantly. While the opening is perhaps higher than many expected (and even that can in part be accredited to fans of the book turning out), it's almost certainly well below what Paramount were hoping for given the $100M budget attached to this one. The Lovely Bones needs to hope that word of mouth can build and keep the film hanging around the top ten for a few weeks to come, giving it a chance to recoup some of that worryingly high budget
Alvin & The Chipmunks, hit not only by the kid's returning to school but The Spy Next Door, is a solid prospect for $200M. The $75M budgeted family flick now has a worldwide total of over $330M. Another theatrically released sequel is a dead cert and that's before you factor in the DVD release of the Squeakquel, where the film is bound to score big again. Friday saw Sherlock Holmes cross the $300M threshold in worldwide ticket sales. Holmes was probably more affected by The Book of Eli than Avatar and with the film beginning to shed its location count, it's time for Warner Bros to being thinking 'sequel for summer 2011'. It's looking tight for $200M on the domestic market, but it is certainly achievable, though perhaps not before the film leaves the top ten.
The Spy Next Door opens as expected, perhaps benefiting from being one of only two family orientated movies in the top ten. Jackie Chan plays a CIA agent who takes on the task of looking after his girlfriend's three children. When one of the children accidentally downloads a secret formula(!), an old adversary of Chan's enters the fray... The action-comedy is Chan's first US release since The Forbidden Kingdom back in April of 2008, which closed with $52M in the bank, a figure this film is unlikely to see. That said, there's every chance this cost less than $40M to produce and with Chan's huge appeal worldwide, will almost certainly end up being another $100M earner for him. The Spy Next Door isn't going to hang around long and will face competition from the Rock's Tooth Fairy next weekend, but for now, should see a decent Monday to add to its above average weekend haul.
It's Complicated recoups its huge budget this weekend and should hit $100M on the domestic market over the next few weeks. The Streep/Martin/Baldwin comedy drama has played very well to the older demographic making it one of the more surprising hits of the last few months. This huge demographic is largely ignored in today's market but prove time and time again that they can turn a film into a hit just as well as the 12-18 year old demographic can. A new entry last weekend, Leap Year didn't perform nearly as well Daybreakers (more in a moment) but thanks to its similarly low budget ($19M), it shouldn't end up losing Universal any money. It actually had a pretty good hold all things considering, leaving the weekend down 36% compared to its opening frame.
After an astounding eight weekends in the top ten, Sandra Bullock drama The Blind Side is potentially facing its final one in the limelight. A blistering success, The Blind Side has cleared its budget by nearly $200M. The film may yet see one further boost once Oscar nominations are announced in a few weeks time. Up In the Air might be looking at its last weekend in the top ten but it's already doubled its production budget. It too may yet receive a further boost once the Oscar nominations are announced. A few wins at tonight's Golden Globes wouldn't do the film any harm either.
Daybreakers got off to a strong start last weekend but this second frame has seen it perform even worse than a traditional horror movie - down a very sharp 75% on a Friday to Friday basis. Amazingly, Daybreakers saw just one weekend in the top ten, that's a hell of a kicking for a film which opened in fourth place just a week ago. The film managed $5M this weekend. Of course, this is largely academic as the film cost just $20M to produce, a figure it has already recouped. It should perform well on the international market, perhaps ultimately being a bigger success on DVD. Another new entry last weekend, Youth In Revolt, drops 59% and falls to a twelfth place spot. The $18M budgeted flick has so far made just over $11M.
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