FLOP POP FIZZLE, The Obligatory Weekend B.O. Report: ‘Avatar’ Restores James Cameron To The Throne; Audiences Didn’t Want To ‘Hear About The Morgans’
The snowstorms hitting the northeast didn’t put a chill on the box office for Avatar. James Cameron‘s long awaited 3D epic easily took the top spot with $73M. It’s the biggest opening ever for a non-sequel. The question of whether the movie will make back its reported $400M+ budget, a figure which makes it the most expensive movie in history, seems to have been answered as it’s poised to be a worldwide hit.
Reaction to the movie has been overwhelmingly positive. Both critics and audiences have been enthralled with it and it’s received an A rating across all demographic groups from Cinemascore’s exit polling. Despite all the pre-release speculation over whether or not the movie would deliver, it looks like The Abyss will remain the only disappointment in Cameron’s oeuvre, as Avatar is yet another victory for the director, who, can once again claim his place as “King of World.” In Hollywood, at least. Cameron says he’s hoping for the movie inspires other filmmakers to take his lead. He told Variety:
I’m waiting to see if Avatar will legitimize 3D for other filmmakers who otherwise might have said, ‘I don’t want to make a 3D movie because it’s for kids, or animation, or horror. I’m a serious filmmaker who makes serious films with big actors and I don’t want my cred to be eroded by a 3D gimmick movie that is not a legitimate part of the cinematic art.”
He says he’s already working on producing several follow up movies that will utilize the 3D camera technology he spent over ten years developing for Avatar.
I am producing Fantastic Voyage in 3D and Sanctum is in its third week of production down in Australia. Sanctum was designed to show several things. It’s an R rated picture, an adult drama. There are no monsters or fantasy elements. It’s basically Deliverance in a cave, a pure psychological drama. The goal with that film is to show you don’t have to spend a couple hundred million dollars to make a film in 3D. We’re making that picture for about $22 million. I’m going to make all my features in 3D so in a way, what’s good for 3D is good for me.
The other big new release this weekend was the warmed over rom com Did You Hear About The Morgans? starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant failed as an attempt at counterprogramming against Avatar, debuting in fourth place.
I remember seeing the trailer this summer in the theater when I went to see Julie & Julia. Each one of the jokes, which included one with Parker running after a horse, naked, was met with dead silence. Apparently the actual movie is the hour and half version of that. The Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips says,
Pure, communal silence can be a wonderful thing, and if you haven’t experienced any lately, I commend you to see the first available screening of the new romantic comedy Did You Hear About the Morgans? Each of its theoretical punch lines is preceded by an eerie second or two of dead air, followed by the joke like “payoff.”
So I guess you can judge a movie by its trailer.
1. Avatar (Fox) NEW $73M
2. The Princess and the Frog (Disney) $12.2M, Cume $44.8M
3. The Blind Side (Warner Bros.) $10M, Cume $165M
4. Did You Hear About The Morgans? (Columbia) NEW $7M
5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit) $4.37M, Cume $275M
6. Invictus (Warner Bros.) $4.17M, Cume $15.8M
7. A Christmas Carol (Disney) $3.42m, Cume $131M
8. Up in the Air (Cold Spring) $3.1M, Cume $8.11M
9. Brothers (Lionsgate) $2.63M, Cume $22.1M
10. Old Dogs (Disney) $2.29M, Cume $43.6M