I almost thought changing the name to something like "Avatar-in-the-Box" or "The Weekly Avatar Box-Office Report".
Simply, Avatar grossed $41.3 million this weekend, took the number slot of the fifth weekend in a row, and with a total of $491.8 million domestically, beat out "Star Wars" to become the third highest grossing movie of all time.
Although "The Book of Eli" actually bet "Avatar" on Friday, it ended up coming in 2nd for the weekend with $31.6 million, a good running start given it's $80 million dollar budget.
Despite a difficult subject matter and a critical reception that can be described as mild as best, "The Lovely Bones" did respectable business in it's first weekend of wide release, grossing $17 million dollars. In what was a good weekend for other films that expanded but a poor weekend for holdovers in general, the top five was rounded out by "Alvin and the Chimpmunks: The Squeakqeal" and "Sherlock Holmes" which are both coming up on totals of $200 million domestically, which is a massive profit margin for both films.
Though Lionsgate was undoubtedly hoping for a January break-out family hit in "The Spy Next Door" that would rival the success of last years, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" it was not to be as the debuted in 6th place with $5.7 million dollars.
While "An Education," "Broken Embraces," "A Single Man," and "The White Ribbon" all played well in limited release, the highest per-screen average for the week went to "The Last Station" which grossed $81,700 in 3 theaters. The 2nd highest per-screen-average went to "Crazy Heart" which grossed $658,000 in 219 theaters, bringing it's total to $2 million.