AVATAR Takes First Worldwide - Mania.com

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AVATAR Takes First Worldwide

James Cameron's Avatar seizes $232 million worldwide.

By Jarrod Sarafin     December 20, 2009

© Mania


With snowstorms raging wildly on the U.S. East Coast over the last few days, it seemed a weekend destined for a show down between Pandora’s Mother Tree and Earth’s Mother Nature. Who would win? We’ll go ahead and say it was an even draw with James Cameron’s Avatar still pulling in an impressive $73.0 million in its first three days of release despite so many major cities on the east side snowed in.
The long-awaited return of director Cameron opened Friday to the tune of $27 million with $3.5 million of that being early midnight showings. Then nature intervened by blanketing quite a few major eastern markets with snowstorms, causing a less than spectacular Saturday gross of $25.7 million, with the remaining $20 mil expected from Sunday’s estimates.
Avatar did dominate the international box office race, pulling in $159.2 million in its opening five days from 14,461 screens in 106 territories.

Distributor 20th Century Fox says the much-anticipated futuristic 3D spectacle's worldwide gross total of $232.2 million ranks as the "highest-grossing nonfranchise, nonsequel opening ever." The overseas per-screen average was $11,008.

"We are off to a great start," said Paul Hanneman, co-president of Fox Theatrical International, who noted that "Avatar," while benefiting from solid reviews overseas, had to defy tough winter weather in many European markets. On the basis of favorable word-of-mouth, Hanneman predicts "Avatar" grosses will hold relatively strongly in the coming weeks.
As discussed last week, budget estimates are all over the place with Avatar. Last official word was $230 million with advertising bringing the cost to somewhere between $250 and $300 million. No official party involved with the release has confirmed those $500 million reports so we’ll keep it listed on the low end.  
While no notable records were overtaken with the weather issues, it’s still a good weekend for Cameron’s camp with the film racking up $232.2 million over it first weekend of worldwide release.
Discuss it down below, Maniacs.
Walt Disney followed in 2nd place with their 2D animated feature, The Princess and the Frog, pulling in another $12.2 million in its second expanded release weekend. The fantasy is showing in 3,452 theaters so it’s still averaging $3,518 per showing for family audiences across the nation. Domestic cume currently sits at $44.7 million against a budget listed at $105 million.
Despite being out for five weekends against some heavy genre competition, Warner Bros. Pictures continued pulling in double-digit numbers for The Blind Side. The Sandra Bullock-led feature grabbed another estimated $10.0 million this weekend to increase its overall domestic tally to $164.7 million. Very good numbers for a film which reportedly cost only $29 mil to produce.
Sony Picture’s romantic comedy Did You Hear About the Morgans debuted in 4th place with an estimated haul of $7.0 million. It seems a decent enough debut those we have to wonder whether it has any chance of overcome that $58 million price tag, a costly production for a film starring Hugh Grant.
And taking the 5th place spot is Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The sequel howled up another $4.3 million over the last three days. The latest numbers has its domestic cume at $274.5 million and its overall worldwide tally at $634.6 million. Great numbers indeed for the release since its budget is listed at only $50 million.
Check out the rest of the top ten in the numbers below.

$73.0 mil
$73.0 mil
The Princess and the Frog
$12.2 mil
$44.7 mil
The Blind Side
$10.0 mil
$164.7 mil
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
$7.0 mil
$7.0 mil
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
$4.3 mil
$274.5 mil
$4.1 mil
$15.8 mil
A Christmas Carol
$3.4 mil
$130.7 mil
Up in the Air
$3.1 mil
$8.1 mil
$2.6 mil
$22.0 mil
Old Dogs
$2.2 mil
$43.5 mil

Like the past few Christmas events, we’re going to see quite a bit theatrical competition for Avatar next week over the holiday. 20th Century Fox is releasing the family-focused Alvin sequel just five days after they distributed Cameron’s long-awaited release while Warner Bros. has Sherlock Holmes entering over 3,600 theaters as well.
Critically praised The Lovely Bones and Up in the Air will also be seeing their expansions.
Wednesday December 23, 2009 Release:
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (3,700)
Friday December 25, 2009 Releases:
Sherlock Holmes (3,600+)
It’s Complicated (2,800+)
The Lovely Bones
Up in the Air
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus


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StarlightGuard 12/20/2009 3:50:03 PM

...and on the 20'th day did the almighty Jarrod speaketh, saying "Praise Hanso!"

and a mighty chorus of Maniacs did rejoice

(hey hanso, for your next article, I suggest a list of why I should be granted access to a high powered, respectable, WGA guild signatory in Hollywood that'll take me on as a client and will allow me to push "Sweet Dreams" into production)

hanso 12/20/2009 4:03:15 PM

Starlight I told you awhile back you should've entered the free script contest and see if you could land in the top 10 but you didn't listen to me. 

Looks like everyone that went to the movies this weekend went to see Avatar, glad the movie did well, probably could've pulled out more if not for the snow.  I had to skip it cause of the f.uking snow here in DC but hopefully I can make it sometime midweek.  Now let's see if this mofo has legs.

Wiseguy 12/20/2009 4:11:56 PM

Well, going by other stuff I've read I'd say AVATAR is almost halfway to profitability and my much anticipated sequels. I've read 500mil should do the trick, of course dvds follow and all these side contracts add to that.

I also read how movies released at this time of year tend to have longer legs because 1- the market isn't being flooded by tentpole projects and 2- the awards season, if you're part of the talk and AVATAR so far is, is going to keep you in the news, oh and 3- at least in I-Max, there's nothing for 3 months. So I'm feeling pretty optimistic right now

I'll be seeing AVATAR in 2D, regular 3D and then I'm going to check out the digital I-Max on 42nd to see what all the bad fuzz is about. So yeah, I'm gladly giving my money to JC and company for a job well done

axia777 12/20/2009 4:14:53 PM

Good for Avatar.  I knew it was going to make cash.  Well will see how much in the next couple of months.  I still need to go see it. 

It is kind of sad that The Road is not even in the top 10.  I need to see that movie too but I heard it is really great. 

StarlightGuard 12/20/2009 4:25:09 PM

to be honest, I did enter it Hanso...I even have a copy of the email I sent, complete with title and description, and even a URL for the blogsite that detailed it and some other info I thought might be necessary somewhere in this clutter...

now what happened afterwards, I cannot say...but I do have the evidence I put it out there...it's like all the letters I send in the post....they all just sort of disappear into the void....one becomes used to it, I'm sad to say

Singermanblows 12/20/2009 4:25:20 PM

Maybe Cameron has a future career making Xbox 360 games becasue that's all Avatar is. At this point Cameron wishes he had Bay's career.

New Moon with its 50 million dollar budget OWNS Avatar at the box office.

djcgmcse 12/20/2009 4:41:43 PM

Loved Avatar, thought it was fantastic.  I saw it in IMAX 3-D.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it again soon.

djphillips25 12/20/2009 5:11:49 PM

Avatar more than likely won't have Titanic-like legs. With Wolf Man & Shutter Island opening in mid-February, it will have to make most its money in January. And with Sherlock Holmes and Alvin & The Chipmunks opening this week, its legs might be slightly crippled. I have doubts about it making it to the top of the 2009 list. Don't forget, New Moon was # 1 for 2 weeks, and there is serious concern that Avatar can pull that off.

I personally liked Avatar. It was good, not great. If it wasn't for the visuals though, it would have been merely a descent little flick that would be completely forgettable. Let's all hope that the inevitable sequel will have a better story and more action. That would be an awesome movie. It did look fantastic. Best visuals of the year, hands down.

theHeadCase 12/20/2009 5:30:44 PM

I 'm glad this movie looks like it'll profit. You tell so much work went into it and it deserves to make money so Hollywood knows to do stuff like this again and again.

DeeJay4ADay 12/20/2009 5:35:01 PM

The thing I liked most about Avatar was that, overall, it was unique (the Dances With Wolves comparisons have been a bit exagerrated, if one takes an honest look at both films).  From a technical standpoint, I think Avatar will further push the home 3-D market, and that may likely be its long-term impact on the entertainment industry.

All in all, this was a good film... and one that so impacted some of my fellow filmgoers that they gave it a round of applause at the end of our viewing.

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