Film Weekend Per Total
1 Avatar $68,300,000 (-9.7%) $19,734 $352,111,000
2 Sherlock Holmes $38,385,000 (-38.5%) $10,586 $140,675,000
3 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel $36,600,000 (-25.1%) $9,768 $157,345,000
4 It’s Complicated $18,700,000 (-15.4%) $6,455 $59,105,000
5 The Blind Side $12,650,000 (+10.3%) $4,323 $209,052,000
6 Up in the Air $11,350,000 (+0.7%) $5,989  $45,020,000
7 The Princess and the Frog $10,013,000 (+11.2%) $3,009 $86,085,000
8 Did You Hear About the Morgans? $5,200,000 (+4.0%) $1,913 $25,620,000
9 Nine $4,250,000 (-22.1%) $3,010 $14,047,000
10 Invictus $4,130,000 (+2.1%) $1,903 $30,755,000

This just in: Moon boots. They are stylish, comfortable and out of this world.

Before I write more about this Avatar picture, let’s focus on some other shit, shall we? I said a while back that I thought The Blind Side would make it to $200 Million – I believe at the amazing second weekend – and here were are looking at the film crossing that line. I also see EW put Bullock on the cover of their Oscar issue, so she’s definitely in play. This film is nothing but a huge win for everyone involved. So there’s that. And like Avatar it crossed an important marker this weekend.

Then there’s Sherlock and The Squeakquel. Playing in the undercurrents of Avatar, which is a huge fucking deal and the first film since The Dark Knight likely to clear half a billion domestic (if not more)… well, more on that later. Anyway, Sherlock did more clean-up business this weekend, and so did Alvin and his fellow chipmunks. Alvin is pretty much a lock for a trilogy at this point, though I don’t know where Sherlock is with sequels. The film isn’t a lock for the $200 mark, but it’ll probably settle in that range if the drops aren’t nightmarish. Iron Man was more of a domestic winner, I have no idea how well Holmes will do internationally as Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have never been big box office draws. Perhaps the character is, though. Downey Jr. was coming off of Iron Man at the point of casting, but neither he nor Law strike as big paydayers (RDJ may have gotten more back-end), and though it’s strange to think of a film that costs $100 Million dollars having a low budget, if this cost less than that or around that then there you go, sequel no problem. If this is one of those $200 Million productions, then maybe everyone’s happy to just walk away without any or too much egg on their face.

The Squeakquel is 88 minutes long, and I was told Jason Lee pulls an Anthony Edwards/Nerds 2 wrap-around function. IMDb has him third billed, so that’s probably about right. It stars (or “stars”) the dude from Chuck and David Cross. The first one did over $200 million, and this will get there too, though with the holidays ending and kids returning to school, the wind in the sails should be out. But seeing as how it’s over $150, it’s probably not going to be too hard to get there. Basically, they have until 1/22’s The Tooth Fairy.

Nominations are the next big thing for movies, though January is not without some cinema to keep you company (genre flicks know they can turn a profit in the first months), though there’s also the films that have been sitting in cans, and the hardsells. But with the hundred-million-plus successes last year of Paul Blart, Gran Torino and Taken without any academy support (generally the pictures doing well are the year end holdovers, though expansion runs are now truncated, partly because if the per screen isn’t great in NY/LA, then you’ve got problems.), January and February have shown themselves to be fertile ground for anything. Up in the Air should be able to climb up the charts some next week if The Blind Side and Alvin slow down a good deal, but it’s going to need some Oscar-type energy to hold on longer. The budget was listed around $25 million, and that means the film should be profitable and all that, but it feels like Avatar is the conversation, and if Up in the Air didn’t have that to contend with, you might have something there. Still, the film didn’t drop this holiday weekend, so it’s possible the film could limp its way to $100 with the nominations and such. And though Slumdog was a $100 Million dollar best picture winner, it was also an audience film. Up hasn’t shown that yet, and though it might get a win from the Golden Globes in two weeks, it’s a month out from the Oscar nominations (2/2/10), and then the actual ceremony is a month later. Up in the Air might only be off 10-20% next weekend, and the awards may keep it in the conversation, but this bathwater doesn’t seem to be above room temperature, and it’s already near 2000 screens, so it can’t expand much further. It’s got this: it’s no The Lovely Bones, which is not only not a contender, but unlike King Kong has no freaking chance of in any way turning a profit. There’s no way the film will do the listed $100 Million dollar budget domestically, and unless international flips for it, this is a pile of red ink. But I’ll wait until that goes wide to piss on it some more. Holy terrible, Batman. Same problem with Invictus, which will surely get in the ten best picture nominees, but after that, it’s doubtful it will register at all as anything more then “we still love you, Clint.” I’ll be interested to see if The Lovely Bones makes the ten. My guess is that it’s out of the conversation.

The Weinstein’s have let Nine go, so it should be out of the top ten next weekend, and not spoken about much after that.  Even with limited award support, the film was panned and did not find an audience. Director Rob Marshall is still attached to the next Pirates movie, but it’ll be interesting to see if this scuttles that (probably not). Ultimately there is a very limited pool of talents that can and will do something like that. No one would hire Shane Carruth or the Duplass brothers to do Pirates 4, and the other side of that is they know doing that might cost them both their career and their integrity. Whether you like them or not, Hollywood will always have a need for directors like Brett Ratner or Shawn Levy. The problem is when they get delusions of grandeur. Marshall seems to be in a position of humility, though Memoirs of a Giesha was not a total disaster. Regardless, Pirates 4 seems tenuous, and this could be the straw that slows it down. Regardless, there will be more Pirates.

The Princess and the Frog should be ale to limp to $100 at this point, but it’ll be slow and not necessarily that honest, but even if it’s off 50% next weekend, it should be able to just get there. But like Chicken Little (which was more successful) I don’t think it speaks well to the traditions of the company. Then again, Disney ruined their brand label in the 90’s and buried it in the 00’s. It’s Complicated is playing okay, and has a shot of crossing the hundred million dollar mark, but the film also strikes as the sort of thing that makes DVD bargain bins so obnoxious to go through.

As per Avatar, the film is over $350 domestically and over One Billion worldwide. All after 17 days of release. Unadjusted for inflation that puts it at #15 domestically and #4 worldwide. By next weekend it will either the third or second worldwide, and somewhere in the top ten of domestic (it’s hard to say if the film will cross the $400 mark next weekend, though I wouldn’t bet against, it all depends on the weekdays). Unadjusted this will definitely beat Star Wars’s $460 Million dollar gross, so it will end up in the top three domestic grossers of all time. David Poland doesn’t think this can do The Dark Knight numbers domestically ($533 Million, the #2) and said that Titanic‘s magic $600 Million is all but out of reach. All I know is that the film has had three weekends in a row of business that was essentially a flatline (it opened to $77 Million, then did $75 the next). So it dropped 2% and this weekend it dropped closer to 10% as of this moment. When the numbers get adjusted for actuals, no one would be surprised with an uptick. Then again, the last two weekends were holiday weekends, so people likely wanted to get the fuck out of their house and not be around their families, etc. Avatar has won, it’s crossed a billion, and even if no one will say the film cost a half-billion, regardless, the film has done what it needed to do to show that it was a smart move all around. What will be interesting next weekend is how it holds. The film has obviously won the year, the only thing left is for it to do is take a shot at passing Titanic. That’s $250 Million away domestically, and $800 Million away worldwide. The film is a lock for five or more Oscar nominations (picture and technicals), so it could conceivably get an Oscar bump in a month, and a second bump if it wins best Picture. This is where we might see some chicken. If the tea leaves and business is favoring Avatar, we might see Disney move Alice in Wonderland. To where, I have no idea, and I don’t think it’s possible. But we may also see Disney and Fox throw money at theaters to make more screens 3-D capable. That though is two months away. Theoretically, Avatar should drop at least 30-50% next weekend. What if it doesn’t?