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'Avatar' adds $10 million to opening weekend box-office tally

Saldana A stronger-than-expected Sunday boosted the weekend box-office total for "Avatar" by $10.3 million, a sign of strong momentum going into the holidays.

The James Cameron-directed 3-D adventure ended up selling $77 million of tickets in the U.S. and Canada, distributor 20th Century Fox said today. On Sunday morning, the studio estimated it would reach $73 million by the end of the day.

In the 106 foreign countries where "Avatar" debuted last week, it grossed $165.5 million through Sunday. The studio's estimate Sunday morning was $159.2 million.

Its final worldwide opening weekend total is $242.5 million.

Studios predict total weekend grosses on Sunday mornings based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales. It's rare that they significantly underestimate such figures. When it happens, it's usually a sign that word-of-mouth is particularly strong, resulting in a smaller drop from Saturday to Sunday than is typical.

In fact, domestic ticket sales for "Avatar" dropped only 3% from Saturday to Sunday -- aided, no doubt, by a slow Saturday night on the snow-covered East Coast. Overseas, ticket sales actually increased slightly.

The last two movies to significantly beat their Sunday morning estimates, "Paranormal Activity" and "Star Trek," went on to very long runs at the box office with modest declines each weekend.

Fox and its financing partners Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Film Partners are hoping to see the same trend for "Avatar" in order to earn a profit on their massive $280-million investment in production (after the benefit of tax credits). In addition, Fox spent about $150 million to market and distribute the movie worldwide.

The picture's strong Sunday performance and its average grade of "A" from moviegoers are signs that "Avatar" won't be leaving the top of the box-office charts anytime soon.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Zoe Saldana in "Avatar." Credit: Weta Digital / 20th Century Fox

Comments () | Archives (23)

Ha, ha, ha, just magically picked up another $10 mil. I guess the snow wasn't the enemy after all.

Amazing movie and definitely worth it :)

Anyone know where I can buy some Avatar toys for my sister? I tried PriceQuest www.pricequest.com and found some good stuff but was wondering if there's more out there?

Let me be blunt: this movie sucks. No story, no plot, it's just one never ending
battle. Too long, too violent, but the industry will push this piece of trash because it has $400 million invested in it. Simply awful.

It's so true that this is a bumbling movie at times - not great, but soooo good! It's not profound, but it does make you think, and it's visually stunning! The other commenter is right, I think, that the racial themes convey a type of white guilt, but I actually think what it does with themes of colonialism is more complex and surprisingly interesting. What is even more interesting, though, is they way it plays with the understanding of the mind/body connection (this isn't the Matrix, although there are similarities - this is a much more bodily understanding of what it is to be a person), and the way it understands the interconnectedness of all life.

If you're interested, I blog my own review of Avatar here: http://themothchase.wordpress.com

It looks silly.

@ Beltway Greg:
Hey genius if this movie has no plot no story then how come it will nominated for 9 oscars?

seems like u need a new cereal box and stop trolling .

This movie was technically awesome,..you go to a movie to see something visually appealing you cant see in real life,..and this hit all the marks. Story?,..Plot?,..whatever,..don't over think it... You don't go to a movie to touch the face of God or create world peace or crap like that,..just eat your popcorn and enjoy the moment at the movie.

Beltway Greg is the man...he calls it like he sees it. Like it is. Crap. Go get swindled.

My college age sons and i agreed that the dissenters must have walked into the wrong theater. Great story, had to be longer in order to bridge from cripple to avatar and then from human culture to Na Vi AND build all the divergent systems of an entire planet (terrain, flora, fauna, weather). That's a lot of ground to cover.
I was stunned by the images and rooting for Jake for all I was worth.

I liked it and I am glad it is doing well.

People like me went back to see it again. And, I might go again. I love this movie.

I've seen it twice - both in IMAX 3D. It was better the 2nd time around. It's the type of flick that grows on you as time goes by...kinda like those "Titanic" box office numbers back in Christmas 1997. $28 million opening weekend and the whole industry hollered "FLOP!" Then the following weekend it rose by a double-digit margin and the rest is history.

I expect "Avatar" to do the same.

I enjoyed the movie. It kept my attension and I have a strange attraction to 15 foot tall blue ladies;) I would like to see the next one take place in Space.

Box Office Guru is reporting $16.4 Million in Monday grosses. Let the tsunami begin...

This movie is visually stunning, I found myself immersed in the world of Pandora. This is a movie to just lose yourself in for a little while and walk out of the theatre feeling good. I applaud the artists who created this world and think Cameron did a fine job. If you want to see a movie that is full of our daily dramas there are plenty out there to fill your inner angst with. The critics are way too negative sometimes, and perhaps need to lose themselves in something other than their own drama.

$430 million to release a major motion picture, that's amazing! How much longer before it takes a billion dollars?

This was a GREAT movie. Saw it in regular 3D and and sat fairly close to the screen because my friends son wanted too, I went farther back (where I usually would sit) for about ten minutes and the effects were actually better sitting what I originally thought would be too close. It is a great story. Try sitting somewhat close.

Just saw it on Sunday. Lovely movie. It really does imitate life. I just finished reading John Perkin's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. The things that are occurring on Pandora are happening here. Have been happening for quite some time. Wherever there is a material we want, we send the suits. If they don't get a deal, we send a jackal to whack the obstructionist. If that fails, the state gets labelled as rougue and we send in the Marines. The movie mentions Nigeria and Venezuela. Both have lotsa oil. I believe that if Saddam had allowed himself to be bought like the Saudis we would have invaded Venezuela by now. This art is grand as it is beautiful. It imitates our life here.

the movies is absolutely amazing. watching this movie in 3D is just absolutely amazing

hahaha new moon beat avatar in the opeaing weekend box office new moon had 70 million when avatar had only 10 million

Its idiots like you mr Beltway Greg that need to stick your head and your mouth in the ground ... although i think you already do, and let the rest of us enjoy one of the best epic movies ever made..

I stand by my previous comments and I don't think this movie has received a single Oscar nomination as of this moment. It is a colossal waste of time, money, and effort. The scenes where they're flying are a direct rip-off from Harry Potter. The birds descend in the same manner as the dragons in Potter. The conservatives and liberals who keep projecting their innermost political/cultural fears on this piece of garbage really need to go volunteer at a shelter or something.


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