Avatar Posts $36m For Jan 21-23 Weekend; Passes The Dark Knight and Moves in 2nd Position in All-Time US Box Office Gross

UPDATE 12:00PM PST: Fox has just announced that Titanic, with it’s Saturday overseas take, has passed Titanic as the all-time #1 in terms of overseas gross. The James Cameron mega-budget blockbuster rolled up an overseas cume through Sunday of $1.288 billion, exceeding by $46 million “Titanic’s” 13-year international boxoffice record of $1.242 billion.” END UPDATE

The weekend studio estimates are out for the January 21-23 weekend and Avatar has done $36M, winning the frame over newcomers Legion and Tooth Fairy, and passing The Dark Knight to become the #2 all-time box office hit domestically with cum gross of $552.7M. Internationally, Avatar was poised to pass Titanic’s #1 Foreign Gross of $1.242 when the international Saturday results come in. Fox is now projecting that Avatar will pass Titanic’s US All-Time Gross of $600.7m within the next two weeks.

Just as a matter of accountability, I’m going to start re-posting the Friday predictions with the Sunday results. Here was the Friday predition post:

BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS WEEKEND OF 21-23 JANUARY
As Avatar rolls into its sixth weekend, it faces competition from three newcomers including Dwayne Johnson’s comedy “Tooth Fairy”, the horror flick “Legion” starring Paul Bettany as an archangel to save mankind, and Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser in “Extraordinary Measures”. So — what are Avatar’s prospects for holding on to the top spot for a sixth frame, and where will it land? Here’s what the experts are saying:

  • Box Office Guru: Avatar $32m, Tooth Fairy $18m, Book of Eli $16m
  • Film School Rejects: Avatar $31m, Tooth Fairy $24M, Book of Eli $19m
  • Blogcritics: Avatar $32M, Tooth Fairy $20m, Book of Eli $18m
  • Box Office Prophet: Avatar $32M, Book of Eli $18.7, Tooth Fairy $18.7

You get the drift — everyone is basically predicting a 25% dropoff from last weekend’s $43m for Avatar. The theory is there are three new pics; last week was a 3 day weekend; and 25% is still a very modest dropoff. How did Titanic do in the equivalent weekend? Well, Titanic clocked in at $30m on the MLK weekend and $25.2M the following weekend, a dropoff of 15.9%. Now, Avatar has been tracking closely with Titanic in terms of dropoff rates — usually a tiny bit behind, but not 10% behind.

So, based on intense analysis of Titanic trends, Avatar trends, and a desire to continue my winning streak against these experts, I’m going to say ….. $34M for Avatar. Which, by the way, will take Avatar past The Dark Knight into the number 2 all-time position.

Globally, Avatar will cross the $1.8m threshold and be knocking on the door of overtaking Titanic. Oh, and by the way, I don’t buy all the language out there that Avatar will “sink Titanic”. Come on, this is a friendly race between sibling rivals. Titanic’s accomplishment is extraordinary and even after Avatar passes it there will still be the issue of ticket prices, inflation-adjusted analysis, etc. No disrespect to Titanic in any of this. Rather, awe and kudos to James Cameron. He’s figured something out, hasn’t he?

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~ by Michael Sellers on January 24, 2010.

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