You probably didn’t need me to tell you this morning that Avatar is still the number one movie in America… and in the Universe, as far as I know. With all the talk about Mel Gibson’s cinematic return in Edge of Darkness, it was never realistic to believe that an aging action star would derail Avatar‘s domination – not when the film is still pulling in numbers usually reserved for an opening week well into its second month in theatres.
|2||Edge of Darkness||$17,120,000||$17.1|
|3||When in Rome||$12,065,000||$12|
|5||Book of Eli||$8,770,000||$74.3|
|9||Alvin & the Chipmunks 2||$4,000,000||$209.2|
Here are the Avatar numbers as of Sunday morning: domestic estimates added another $30 million to the pot from 3,074 theatres. That is only a 14% drop from last weekend and it gives Avatar the highest seventh weekend of all-time – once again knocking Titanic into second place. Avatar‘s new $594.4 million domestic total is now only $6.4 million away from displacing Cameron’s last blockbuster as the highest-grossing domestic film of all-time. Internationally, that title was claimed last Monday, with the last available foreign total placing the film at $1.35 billion in overseas grosses.
It was Mel Gibson’s bad luck to schedule his comeback in the middle of Avatar Days. GK Films and Warner Brothers probably saw the giant, blue writing on the wall which is the only reason they can claim to be legitimately pleased with their second place finish today. Things could have been much worse, after all. At one point the film was slated to star Robert DeNiro.
Darkness earned an estimated $17.1 million from 3,066 theatres for a per-screen average of $5,500. This is far lower than Gibson’s last starring turn – $60 million for Signs in 2002 (though that film was aided by its summer release date and by the fact that director M. Night Shyamalan could still write at the time). A more accurate comparison is probably Gibson’s 1999 film Payback. An action thriller with an early February launch date, Payback took in $21.2 million on its first weekend and $17.7 million the weekend following.
If Edge of Darkness was not a huge win for Gibson and the studios, it was at least less objectionable than the second new release of the week, Disney’s When in Rome. From 2,456 engagements the romantic comedy pulled in an estimated $12 million or $4,900 per screen. That was good enough for third place which – considering its 19% Rotten Tomato score – was really the best-case scenario here. Disney had originally scheduled When in Rome to debut last August but decided that the film was not strong enough to go up against G.I Joe. It seems funny now, what with Avatar and all.
As for last week’s new entries, neither of which could out-score When in Rome on the Tomato-meter, Legion took a big second week drop of 61%, pushing it from second place right out of the top five. Legion finished the weekend with $6.8 million for an estimated total of $28.6 million. Tooth Fairy actually held on to its fourth place berth thanks to a far less precipitous drop of 28% over last weekend, an event for which I have no real explanation.
Next week brings us Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfreid in The Notebook 2 (aka Dear John). We will also be treated to the return of John Travolta (Old Dogs didn’t count, did it?) in From Paris With Love. I’ll just start writing my “Avatar Earns Eight Weeks at Number One” column now, shall I?