Film? Weekend? Per Screen Boobs!
1 Avatar $73,000,000 $21,147 $73,000,000
2 The Princess and the Frog $12,224,000 (-49.5%) $3,518 $44,756,000
3 The Blind Side $10,030,000 (-33.4%) $2,944 $164,734,000
4 Did You Hear About the Morgans? $7,000,000 $2,575 $7,000,000
5 New Moon $4,370,000 (-45.1%) $1,440 $274,561,000
6 Invictus $4,170,000 (-51.6%) $1,962 $15,845,000
7 A Christmas Carol $3,419,000 (-50.0%) $1,652 $130,789,000
8 Up in the Air $3,100,000 (+29.5%) $17,714 $8,106,000
9 Brothers $2,630,000 (-47.6%) $1,309 $22,091,000
10 Old Dogs $2,289,000 (-48.1%) $870 $43,574,000

This just in: A Copy of Word Up! magazine. It features Salt N’ Peppa and Heavy D in a limo.

Avatar did not break any records, domestically. That does not poo-poo anything, it had a solid opening, and did an additional $159 Million internationally. Reports have come in suggesting that it played well to it not playing well, but anecdotal evidence is less than worthless. The question is if it can weather next weekend without taking it in the shorts, and then also if it holds up for New Years. There are a handful of negative reviews, but word is mostly positive critically, and dissenters are being told they have no soul, while some people feel they are being persecuted for loving the film. The hyperbole police are strong on this one. Geeks are always polarized, the question is if the mainstream embraces it. It’s hard to say if they have or not yet, though the film got a great number of lookie-loos. The international numbers point-blank suggests that the film will have no problem getting over $600 million worldwide. Does it become a part of the conversation, or does Sherlock Holmes steal the thunder, and and will there be something of a Holmes vs. Avatar between the public and critics, leading to more negative WOM for Holmes because people feel protective of James Cameron? All this and more will become apparent with the passage of time.

The takeaway: Great numbers, but… the film is really expensive, and the question with this film has always been how long and well will it play. Ultimately had Fox done a better job of selling it domestically, that number could have been higher. But you also have the East Coast storms to contend with. The time of marketing is over, and word of mouth is now king. As they say, dot dot dot. The question is if it can do a stronger hold than most genre pictures of its kind. Getting to $200 domestically – at this point – is a done deal, but I don’t know if it gets to $300 or $400. For those looking to champion the film, the international numbers suggest the film could still get to a billion (which – as the word is that the film cost $500 Million – would be the “no shit” number), and if it does then there will be no argument about the film’s success. Anything less, and people can carp that Cameron failed, which makes it interesting that Fox would release a film like Alvin and the Chipmunks five days after. It may seem stupid to cut off your nose to spite your face, but the industry is an interesting place.

My gut reaction is that the film is not transcendent of its interests, and does not get to $400 domestically. I have not seen the film, but I feel that the comparisons to King Kong are mostly deserved. Having seen every James Cameron film, the script is likely weak, and that’s going to kill some of the repeat business if Jake Sully is no Luke Skywalker. Someone said the cinemascore is A-, which is solid, but I don’t know and don’t think this is resonating to be a zeitgeist, which is what it needs, and I also feel like the flippers are reacting to the tech on a level that may not interest the gen-pop. Do regular ticket-goers talk about the uncanny valley? Only some of them (mostly programmers). There’s this image of men and women dragging each other to movies, and men going to see chick flicks for sexual favors. This is slightly exaggerated, but the date night factor of the film seems to be marginal. And if you can’t convince your girlfriend or wife to see this film without also seeing – say – It’s Complicated then there’s that. I don’t think the women who flocked to Titanic have any interest in this film whatsoever.

Holy shit, Brittnay Murphy died today.

Disney’s holding the bag with Princess and the Frog, but they didn’t hit the cultural sweet spot. They’re going to miss hitting a hundred at this point. Alvin‘s going to steal everything from them. 

The Hugh Grant movie did no business, so it getting killed by It’s Complicated isn’t even so much a killing as a walking by. the rest of the numbers are what they are. I don’t feel like Warner’s is invested in pushing The Blind Side for academy consideration, so it’s up to Sandra Bullock’s people to work that shit. Speaking of box office and awards, Precious is losing all bits of steam, and the nominations will be the win. Up in the Air is expanding well, so that may get some heat. I think we’re looking at it as the front runner, but I feel like Inglourious Basterds could sneak in there, and f s up. I keep hearing people talking about Avatar, and that could be a rallying point, but old people, genre, and the dip in interest by the time of final balloting could work against. Currently there is no front runner, but I wouldn’t bet against Jeff Bridges, or Christoph Waltz. Everything else is what it is.