Moviegoers brought holiday cheer to Hollywood studios over the weekend setting a record for an overall cume with a massive $265 million total. Leading the way, none other than James Cameron's "Avatar" which made a comeback opposite Friday's winner "Sherlock Holmes" and 20th Century Fox stablemate "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel" for an impressive $75 million weekend and an eye-popping $212.2 million so far.
"Avatar" had a nice jump to from $23.5 to $28.5 million from Friday to Saturday, unlike "Holmes" which fell from $24 million to $21 million over the same to time frame. While that may be a tad disconcerning for Warner Bros., the Robert Downey Jr. adventure's kick off of $65.4 million is pretty strong considering the competition. And both films should continue to play well through the holiday and New Year's weekend.
In third place was "Alvin" deux with a $50.2 million weekend and $77.1 million to date. The original made $217 million, but it's unclear whether the better reviewed sequel can equal that total with so much competition in the market. Fox will have a better idea after the midweek numbers come in, but have to be happy with the start so far.
Fourth place went to "It's Complicated" with an estimated $22.1 million 3-day. The Meryl Streep adult romantic comedy is director Nancy Meyer's biggest opening since "What Women Want" in 2000 and that's a nice late Christmas gift for the folks sweating it out at Universal Pictures.
Fifth place was a very tight battle between "Up in the Air' and "The Blind Side" with $11.8 and $11.7 respectively. For "Air" in particular, this is an O.K. result considering the heavy competition. The Jason Reitman dramedy didn't blow explode at the box office, but it provided more than solid results to keep the film's Best Picture hopes alive. Although, Paramount would have probably been a bit happier with closer to $13-14 million. Like "Alvin" and "Holmes" they will be hoping to ride the week and New Year's to a strong January run.
As for Sandra Bullock's "Blind Side," the melodrama continues an amazing run with a new cume of $184.3 million. $200 million is next and its already the biggest hit of Bullock's career beating this summer's $169 million take for "The Proposal."
There was some coal in the stockings of one studio, however. Rob Marshall's musical "Nine" expanded to 1,412 theaters and grossed only $5.5 million. How the $85 million budgeted picture (not sure where the $65 million report is coming from) will shake out will be a curious story to watch. "Most" musicals have a big opening day due to pent up fan demand and then settle back into a more traditional run. In December of 2004, "Phantom of the Opera" opened to a much more potent $4 million on only 626. The Joel Schumacher musical received just as many negative notices as "Nine," but found a steady stream of patrons to gross $51 million domestically and another $103 million overseas. In November of 2005, the bomb "Rent had a monster opening day, but crashed back to earth with only $10 million over it's first weekend ending up with just $29 million when all was said and done. How will "Nine" pan out? It's clearly not in the "Chicago," "Dreamgirls" or "Hairspray" stratosphere, that's for sure. Could it's chances at a Best Picture nomination be faltering as well? Something to watch for as January's award season progresses.
In limited release, Heath Ledger's last film, Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," has a rather strong start with $130,000 in only four theaters for a $32,500 average. The well reviewed adventure expands nationwide on Jan. 8. For more on the limited releases of "Crazy Heart," "A Single Man," "Broken Embraces," "Young Victoria" and more, check out the rundown on Indiewire.
Here's a rundown of the top ten estimates for the weekend according to Box Office Mojo. Final results will be released on Monday.
1."Avatar," $75 million, $212.2 million to date.
2."Sherlock Holmes," $65.3 million
3."Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel," $50.2 million, $77 million to date.
4."It's Complicated," $22.1 million.
5."Up in the Air," $11.75 million, $24.5 million to date.
6."The Blind Side," $11.73 million, $184.3 million to date.
7."The Princess and the Frog," $8.6 million, $63.5 million to date.
8. "Nine," $5.5 million, $5.9 million to date.
9."Did You Hear About The Morgans?" $5 million, $15.5 million to date.
10. "Invictus," $4.3 million, $23.3 million to date.