1. Dear John - $32.4M - $32.4M
2. Avatar - $23.6M - $630.1M
3. From Paris With Love - $8.1M - 8.1M
4. Edge of Darkness - $7M - $29.1M
5. Tooth Fairy - $6.3M - 34.3M
6. When in Rome - $5.5M - $20.8M
7. The Book of Eli - $4.8M - $82.1M
8. Crazy Heart - $3.7M - $11.1M
9. Legion - $3.4M - $34.6M
10. Sherlock Holmes - $2.6M - $201.5M
After seven weeks at the top spot, Avatar is finally de-throned by the romantic drama, Dear John, which until this weekend was largely unheard of. It'll now go down in history similarly to Lost in Space, which was the film that displaced Titanic back in 1997. The film is an adaptation of the Nicholas (The Notebook, Night in Rodanthe) Sparks book of the same name and stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried as a soldier on leave and a conservative student respectively, who strike up a romance during a house construction. The romance blossoms via letter once John has returned to serve out his time with the forces but is put to the test when he re-enlists in the army after the 9/11 attacks. After the non-starters that were Leap Year and When In Rome, the female demographic turned out in force for this one, bringing their boyfriends and husbands with them.
Dear John was expected to finish at least third this weekend so you can imagine the surprise once the Friday figures were announced. Even the huge snowstorms that are hitting the east coast seem to have had little effect (in fact, one wonders how much higher the film could have gone had it not been for the storms). Reviews weren't anything to write home about but the film has obviously caught the public's eye and with this first weekend haul has almost certainly recouped its production budget and then some. There's a chance it'll have had a bigger Sunday once the final figures are released thanks to being alternate programming to the Superbowl. It should also have a decent second frame, what with Valentine's Day falling next Sunday.
While Avatar might have lost the top spot this weekend it's still going strong, having become the biggest domestic film ever released on Tuesday, taking Titanic's long held record. It's also become the first film to ever cross the $2B mark in total worldwide ticket sales. Nine Academy award nominations did no harm either. Avatar still has three weekends before Alice In Wonderland appears, by which point it will be well on the way to taking $675M. It's hard to believe that Avatar has become the biggest film in the world in less than two months on general release and there's every chance that it will see a re-release towards the end of the year. And that's before we take into account the fact that the film will be at a number of locations for at least another three month, if not longer.
Our second new release this weekend is the Pierre Morel action flick From Paris With Love. Morel directed last January's sleeper Taken but part of that success was on the back of some stunning word of the mouth the film had gathered during its European release. 'Love' stars John Travolta as a maverick agent put in the trust of Jonathan Rhys-Meyer's embassy worker, as they fight to stop a terrorist attack taking place. The film actually reviewed better than Dear John, but only just, and it's key demographic will have stayed home Sunday to watch the Superbowl. Given its slow start though you'd be forgiven for thinking that its key demographic hadn't shown up at all. Next weekend it'll clash with The Wolfman but it's unlikely the film will have much fight left in it by that point. Budget details aren't available at the time of writing but this could easily have been a $40-50M production and that's a figure From Paris With Love won't stand a chance of seeing domestically.
Edge of Darkness doesn't fair much better in its second frame. After a slightly disappointing start last weekend the film was down 60% on Friday (59% for the weekend as a whole). Competition from Avatar and From Paris With Love did the Mel Gibson flick now favours whatsoever and it's looking increasingly likely that the film will finish up with around $45M in takings, a long way short of its $80M production budget. Gibson will now need to rely on his overseas fans to see Edge of Darkness getting anywhere near making a profit. Meanwhile The Tooth Fairy enjoys another limited drop in the third frame. As the only family friendly film in the top ten it should have the market all sewn up but while its weekend drops have been acceptable, it did start on the low side of estimations. Things won't improve next weekend either as it'll face off against the big budget adaptation Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. When we combine its international take with the domestic haul, The Tooth Fairy has recouped its production budget, but like that opening frame, it's probably well below what the studio had hoped for.
Taking a solid kicking from Dear John, When in Rome drops 55% in its second frame. The Kristen Bell romantic comedy was likely produced for under $20M but it's doubtful that the film will see little more than that figure by the end of its box office run. It won't see much of a boost next weekend either thanks to Dear John and another romantic comedy release in the guise of 'Valentine's Day' having the market sewn up. Recouping its production budget sometime Thursday, The Book of Eli is likely to leave the top ten within the next fortnight. Expect at least the same again in takings from the international market and for this to turn a decent, if unremarkable profit for Warner Bros. No word on what the Hughes Brothers will tackle next.
Having opened way back in the middle of December, Crazy Heart expands into 819 locations this weekend, hot on the heels of a best Oscar nomination for Jeff Bridges. Bridges stars as a way-down on his luck singer who finds salvation in the form of Maggie Gyllenhaal's (also Oscar nominated) journalist, who hopes to discover the man behind the music. Reviews for this one have been through the roof, it's currently sitting on a 93% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. Along with the reviews, some very strong word of mouth has helped propel the film into a top ten place from what is still a relatively limited location count. Expect further expansion should Bridges win the Oscar.
Legion has now recouped its $26M production budget as it sees what is inevitably its last weekend in the top ten. Unlike Daybreakers, Legion managed to hang around a bit longer and should end up with around $45M before seeing a strong DVD performance. After what seems a lifetime, Sherlock Holmes manages to cross the $200M barrier in its seventh weekend on general release. The $90M production has running global total of over $400M.