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‘Avatar’ Tops $1 Billion

Posted by Media Outrage on January 4, 2010

Director James Cameron has to be crip-walking while smiling ear-to-ear, because he just became the first person to direct two films that have grossed over $1 billion.  Peep game…

Via AP:

– James Cameron’s science-fiction epic “Avatar” had another stellar weekend with $68.3 million domestically, shooting past $1 billion worldwide, only the fifth movie ever to hit that mark.

No. 1 for the third-straight weekend, 20th Century Fox’s “Avatar” raised its domestic total to $352.1 million after just 17 days. The film added $133 million overseas to lift its international haul to $670 million, for a worldwide gross of $1.02 billion.

“Avatar” opened two weekends earlier with $77 million, a strong start but far below dozens of other blockbusters that debuted as high as $158 million. But business for other blockbusters usually tumbles in following weekends, while “Avatar” revenues barely dropped over the busy Christmas and New Year’s weekends.

“It’s like a runaway freight train. It just keeps doing business,” said Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston. “Here’s what’s happening: I think everybody has to see `Avatar’ once. Even people who don’t normally go to the movies, they’ve heard about it and are saying, `I have to see it.’ Then there’s those people seeing it multiple times.”

“Avatar” was Cameron’s first film since 1997’s “Titanic,” the biggest modern blockbuster with $1.8 billion worldwide.

Cameron now is the only filmmaker to direct two movies that have topped $1 billion. Along with “Titanic,” the others are “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at $1.13 billion, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” at $1.06 billion and “The Dark Knight” at a fraction over $1 billion, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

With “Avatar” closing in on No. 2 film “The Return of the King,” Cameron is in striking distance of having the two top-grossing movies globally.

“Avatar” has had a price advantage over those other billion-dollar movies. About 75 percent of its domestic business has come from theaters showing it in digital 3-D presentation, those tickets typically costing a few dollars more than admissions for the 2-D version.

Finishing at No. 2 for the weekend was Robert Downey Jr.’s crime caper “Sherlock Holmes” with $38.4 million. The Warner Bros. film lifted its domestic total to $140.7 million after 10 days in theaters.

In third place was 20th Century Fox’s family tale “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” with $36.6 million. It raised its 10-day total to $157.3 million.

The top-three movies, along with solid holdovers that included Universal’s “It’s Complicated” at No. 4 with $18.7 million, steered Hollywood to a big start to 2010 after a year of record revenue.

Hollywood finished 2009 with $10.6 billion domestically, easily surpassing the previous record of $9.7 billion in 2007, according to Hollywood.com.

Factoring in today’s higher admission prices, the year was strong but not a modern record-breaker for number of tickets sold. According to Hollywood.com, domestic admissions came in at 1.42 billion in 2009, the most in the last five years, though well below the modern record of 1.6 billion in 2002.

In Hollywood’s glory years of the 1930s and ’40s, before television eroded the movie audience, estimated movie attendance ran as high as 4 billion some years.

Studios began 2010 with a headstart over last year. Overall revenues came in at $230 million, up 50 percent from New Year’s weekend in 2009, when “Marley & Me” was No. 1 with $24.3 million.

Like “Titanic” 12 years ago, “Avatar” has fairly clear sailing now that the holidays are over. Hollywood is entering a slow season, when fewer big movies arrive and competition is lighter.

“Titanic” lingered as the No. 1 film for months leading up to the Academy Awards, where it won 11 Oscars, including best picture and director.

“Avatar” also proved a critical favorite with strong Oscar potential. Cameron broke new ground in combining live-action, digitally-enhanced performances, visual effects and 3-D presentation to immerse viewers in his futuristic tale of humans and aliens on a distant moon.

“Leave it to James Cameron to do this. To not only set the technical world on fire, the visual world on fire, but also the box-office world on fire 12 years after `Titanic,'” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. “Avatar,” $68.3 million.

2. “Sherlock Holmes,” $38.4 million.

3. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” $36.6 million.

4. “It’s Complicated,” $18.7 million.

5. “The Blind Side,” $12.7 million.

6. “Up in the Air,” $11.4 million.

7. “The Princess and the Frog,” $10 million.

8. “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”, $5.2 million.

9. “Nine,” $4.3 million.

10. “Invictus,” $4.1 million.

Mediaoutrage–  How many of you checked it out?  Is it really that good?

14 Responses to “‘Avatar’ Tops $1 Billion”

  1. I saw it twice already. Saw it in 3-d and regular with my woman. Movie was dope!

  2. Teena Thomas said

    I have to check this out. Is it in Imax?

  3. Yvonne said

    James Cameron’s creativity is awesome.

  4. joneblaze said

    Well here’s my review:
    Director James Cameron loves to take the audience on a journey.Whether its a journey following a cyborg from the future,traveling back in time to protect a boy who is destined to save us all,or the journey of a woman that was once a Warrant Officer who becomes a leader amongst marines on a futile mission facing blood thirsty aliens.
    But this time the journey is different. Sure Cameron’s films have been laced with moments of emotion mixed with moments of incredible action,but this time Cameron totally immersed me in his new world called Pandora created for his outstanding new film,Avatar.
    The story is basic and of course tons of different films come to mind while watching Avatar ,the standout being Dances with Wolves.
    Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a Marine who was paralyzed in battle,but he still has a gung ho and independent attitude,which comes in handy when he is linked to his Avatar body,his mission is simple,infiltrate,learn,report back about the Na’vi the alien inhabitants of Pandora.
    Jake even has a casual attitude about it all ,but of course while learning the ways of the Na’vi he begins to change,and fall for the beautiful and strong Neytiri (Zoe Saldana)
    And this is the fantastic thing about Avatar we feel we are right beside Jake ,changing, and falling in love and developing a love for the Na’vi and Pandora
    The CGI,motion capture are just so thrilling you forget they’re the aforementioned
    just try taking your eyes off of Neytiri !
    Cameron seamlessly blends extremely romantic moments,and incredible eye popping action,the dialogue is a bit clunky and dated,but i was so taken by everything that was going in the film the aforementioned is a minor flaw in my opinion.
    Films like Avatar deserve to be seen on the big screen,anyone who just waits for the DVD,is cheating themselves out of one of the most incredible times they will have at a theatre.Sigourney Weaver is terrific as Dr. Grace Augustine,Stephen Lang is great as the hard as nails Colonel Quaritch,and Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) is just weasely enough that you love to hate him.
    But the film belongs to Worthington and Saldana, we are with the two all the way rooting for them even though their worlds apart.
    Kudos to everyone who worked on this film because its one of the best of 2009
    Scale of 1-10 a 10 +

  5. ucanb2 said

    I havent’ seen it yet.. it hasn’t quite peaked my interest.

    • Cut Up said

      You betta get interested quick sugar. I was the same way when I saw previews like, “I don’t wanna see dat shit!” guess what, I wanna see it again now. I’ll probably do like DT and go see the 3-D version next.

  6. Random said

    Everyone that saw it Loved it so I’m not surprised!

  7. MissTX85 said

    I don’t plan to see it. Heard it was long as hell just like ‘Titantic’. Which I still don’t see how or why it made as much money as it did. Was pretty boring to me. But this I could understand. Science-fiction is a big thing with some people. But that damn ‘Titantic’…..

  8. Lio said

    Movie is awesome..will see it again in IMAX..yes it’s long but not boring..trust me..titanic was boring as fuck

  9. sweetthang said

    that movie was great!!!! i’m about to see it again!

  10. G Man said

    This is an interesting article on Avatar

    http://www.moneyteachers.org/Deadmanmusings8.htm

  11. Nina said

    Can’t bring myself to see it.

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