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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Avatar" hits worldwide tally of $1.34 billion

By Siewaun
Reference: Variety

Variety reports that 20th Century Fox's James Cameron blockbuster "Avatar" have a huge potential to pass "Titanic" as the top-grossing movie of all time, as it grossed $143 million in its fourth season overseas (up 4.5% from the previous weekend for a foreign total of $906.2 million.)

Domestically, the film dipped just 29% to $48.5 million for earnings of $429 million and worldwide tally of $1.34 billion, $460 million shy of Cameron's "Titanic" ($1.8 billion).

Fox co-president of international distribution Paul Hanneman was quoted as saying, "We thought we would do $100 million overseas, but we really didn't know, because we're outside of holidays and kids are back in school."

In the mean time among the new showing movies, Lionsgate's horror-action movie "Daybreakers" was the only one that turned in a strong performance, grossing an estimated $15 million from 2,523 runs.

Universal's broad romantic comedy "Leap Year" starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode and Dimension Films' Michael Cera's "Youth in Revolt" weren't doing that well.

"Leap Year" grossed an estimated $9.2 million from 2,511 runs to come in No. 6 behind U's other femme-driven comedy, "It's Complicated." At No. 9, "Youth in Revolt" grossed an estimated $7 million from 1,873 locations.

Warner Bros.' "Sherlock Holmes" is at No. 2 and Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" at No. 3 at the domestic B.O.

"Sherlock" declined 55% in its third frame to an estimated $16.6 million from 3,626 for a domestic total of $165.2 million.

Overseas, the Robert Downey Jr. starrer grossed another $25.7 million from 5,300 playdates in 44 territories, beating "Squeakquel," and notching up a foreign earnings of $130 million. Global earnings is $295.2 million.

"Squeakquel" declined 54% domestically to an estimated $16.3 million for a domestic total of $178.2 million in its third outing. Kidpic grossed $22 million at the foreign B.O. from 6,226 screens in 57 markets for a earnings of $136.3 million. Worldwide tally is $314.5 million.

"It's Complicated" fell 41% domestically to an estimated $11 million from 2,955 for a earnings of $76.4 million.

The domestic B.O. continued its winning streak, scoring the best showing ever for the first weekend of the new year (New Year's weekend is historically lumped in with the previous year).

Paramount's "Up in the Air" continued its solid expansion, grossing an estimated $7.1 million from 2,218 for a earnings of $54.7 million in its sixth frame. Paramont and the distributors of other prestige titles will look to parlay wins at the Golden Globe ceremony next weekend into a box office bump.

That pack of movies includes a number of titles still playing in limited runs. Fox Searchlight's Jeff Bridges starrer "Crazy Heart" picked up over the weekend, grossing an estimated $435,000 from 33 theaters for a per-location average of $13,182 and earnings of $1.2 million in its fourth week.

But it was "Avatar" that posted the best per-theater average of the frame at $14,173 and not a limited release ("Avatar" played on 3,422 screens). And just like a prestige title, "Avatar" will benefit both at the domestic and foreign box offices if it wins a Golden Globe.

For the frame, "Avatar's" performance at the foreign B.O., where it played on 14,839 screens in 111 territories, was led by China, where it didn't open until Jan. 4. Film grossed $40.2 million in its first seven days, the biggest opening week ever for a Hollywood title at the Chinese B.O. Saturday's $8.3 million haul was the biggest single-day number ever.

France became the first territory to jump the $100 million mark. "Avatar" grossed an estimated $11.7 million for the session in Gaul, putting the earnings at $100.5 million.

Other leading territories include Germany ($73.5 million), Russia ($69.5 million), U.K. ($66.8 million) and Spain ($60.2 million).

"Avatar" stayed at No. 1 in most territories, and drops were mild, even with the end of the holidays and cold weather across Europe.

Fox international execs expect "Avatar" to jump the $1 billion mark internationally later this week and say "Titanic's" $1.24 billion earnings is now within reach. Domestically, "Titanic" earnings $600.7 million.

"Sherlock's" strong foreign run was led by the U.K., where it grossed an estimated $3.2 million for a earnings of $25 million. Movie opened in Brazil to $2.4 million from 316 showings.

"Squeakquel's" foreign total of $136.6 million is only $7 million behind the original "Alvin and the Chipmunks," which earnings $143.3 million overseas. Domestically, first pic earnings $217.3 million, while the sequel has already earned $178.2 million.

The January B.O. is a longtime favorite for genre movies such as Michael and Peter Spierig's "Daybreakers," starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe.

Universal said it was pleased with the opening for "Leap Year," which drew an audience that was nearly 80% female, while 54% were over age 30. Spyglass financed and produced "Leap Year," while Relativity Media shared the marketing costs with Universal.

The Weinstein Co. also is struggling at the box office with Rob Marshall's "Nine," which fell off the top 10 chart this weekend. The musical started off strong in a limited run before Christmas but dipped when it expanded nationwide.

Among new specialty openers, Cinema Guild's pastoral docu "Sweetgrass" grossed an estimated $10,403 as it played in one theater in New York.

"Bitch Slap," distributed by Freestyle, grossed an estimated $15,000 in its debut at three theaters for a location average of $5,000.

Also from Freestyle, Tim Allen-directed "Crazy on the Outside" fell flat in its debut, grossing an estimated $75,450 from 74 runs for a location average of $1,020.

The Metropolitan Opera's live, high-def theatrical program continued Saturday with the broadcast of Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier." Show, hosted by Placido Domingo and starring Renee Fleming, grossed $2 million from 650 screens. Opera also was carried live on 300 screens in 24 countries in Europe and seven territories in Latin America.

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