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First look: 'Avatar' on top again; 'Daybreakers' opens well above 'Leap Year,' 'Youth in Revolt'

January 10, 2010 |  9:12 am

Avatar Michelle Rodriguez America's not done with "Avatar."

Coming off a phenomenal holiday period that saw the 3-D blockbuster sell more than $350 million of tickets in the U.S. and Canada over just 17 days, "Avatar" experienced the smallest decline of any picture in wide release this weekend, signaling that "must-see" buzz and repeat business will keep driving it well into the winter.

Among new movies, the vampire flick "Daybreakers" got off to a solid start while "Leap Year" and "Youth in Revolt" were unimpressive.

The James Cameron-directed "Avatar" grossed $48.5 million from Friday through Sunday, according to an estimate from distributor 20th Century Fox, down 29% from last weekend. That's a relatively small decline on any weekend and particularly impressive given that this past Friday was a much slower moviegoing day than the previous one, which was a holiday.

Its gross is by far the biggest ever for a film on its fourth weekend and rivals the previous record holder, $28.7 million for Cameron's "Titanic," even accounting for 12 years of ticket price inflation.

Overseas this weekend, "Avatar" took in $143 million from 111 territories. Boosted by its debut in China Monday, foreign ticket sales actually increased this week. Its international total is an astronomical $906 million, while its domestic take so far is an equally impressive $429 million. Not accounting for ticket price inflation, it's the second-biggest movie ever and has a shot of surpassing the first, "Titanic," which collected $1.84 billion worldwide.

Daybreakers "Daybreakers" sold $15 million of tickets domestically, a good beginning given the $20 million that distributor Lionsgate and the Australian government spent to produce the futuristic vampire picture starring Ethan Hawke.

The romantic comedy "Leap Year," starring Amy Adams, debuted to $9.2 million, a weak but not disastrous start as distributor Universal Pictures and its partners Relativity Media spent $19 million to acquire the picture.

"Youth in Revolt" was another disappointment for the financially struggling Weinstein Co., launching to just $7 million.

Among pictures already in the market, "Up in the Air" and "The Blind Side" continued to play well, dropping just 34% and 35%, respectively.

Warner Bros.' "Sherlock Holmes" landed in second place again, declining 55% after its strong New Year's weekend to $16.6 million. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" was right behind it with $16.3 million, down 54%. The two movies have impressive total domestic grosses of $165.2 million and $178.2 million, respectively, following their strong holiday performances.

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: Michelle Rodriguez in "Avatar." Credit: ILM.

Bottom photo: A scene from "Daybreakers." Credit: Ben Rothstein / Lionsgate.