Box Office Results: Avatar rules the weekend

Studio Estimates for Dec. 18-20:

1.  Avatar – $73 million
2.  The Princess and the Frog – $12.2 million
3.  The Blind Side – $10 million
4.  Did You Hear About the Morgans? – $7 million
5.  New Moon – $4.4 million

James Cameron’s Avatar took off its opening weekend with an impressive $73 million.  Some will say that it would’ve made more if the Northeast didn’t get bombarded with a snowstorm, while others think the weekend gross is deceiving because of the additiona 3-D and IMAX ticket prices.  I feel that the $73 million is impressive for a film that is neither a remake, a sequel, an adaptation, or based off a true story. 

The hype that surrounded the film was enormous with fanboys already declaring it a great achievement before the film was released.  After the critics continued to spread the positive word of mouth, it made sense how well Avatar did this weekend.  Avatar now is the second highest-grossing December opening weekend ever, beating out Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and only behind I Am Legend ($77.2 million).

Even more impressive, Avatar grossed $232 worldwide this weekend.  The positive word of mouth is continuing to make its rounds over the Internet on sites like Twitter and Blippr.  It’ll be interesting to see if Avatar has the legs to become one of the year’s highest grossing films or not.

Meanwhile, the other new release of the weekend, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, grossed $7 million that landed them the fourth spot. 

As for our predictions, we all knew Avatar would take the box office crown, but my guess of $80 million was the closest to the studio estimate.  Even though I had the best gross estimates, Sheehan was able to predict the top four films in the correct order, which ended up being the deciding factor in the points system (Me: 39, Sheehan: 43, Phil: 15).  Kudos Sheehan.

Check back on Friday for our new predictions.  There will be A LOT of releases for the holiday weekend.  Starting off with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel that is released on Wednesday.  Then there’s the Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep romantic comedy titled It’s Complicated.  And the Robert Downey Jr. action/adventure Sherlock Holmes.  Also, two Oscar-contenders are receiving a wide expansion: Nine and Up in the AirThe Lovely Bones is also being expanded too.

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