It’s not often when virtually every major film in release can be called in a box-office winner, but this Christmas, moviegoers spread the wealth in unprecedented fashion. All told, a record $273 million was spent on tickets domestically, making it the biggest weekend haul in cinema history. The battle for #1 seemed touch-and-go at first, with Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Sherlock Holmes both enjoying some time at the top. But ultimately, it was James Cameron’s juggernaut Avatar that came away the big winner, adding another $75 million an astonishing two-week total of $212 million. It’s even changed the complexion of the Best Picture race, with Movie City News’ “Gurus Of Gold” putting it just above Up In The Air as the front-runner.
Oscar won’t likely be as kind to Sherlock Holmes and The Squeakquel, but the films’ producers can dab their eyes with piles and piles of dollar bills. The blockbuster-ization of Arthur Conan Doyle paid off to the tune of $65 million and second place, while Alvin and the gang won $50 million with a bare minimum of effort for third. Nancy Meyers’ piece of femme-centered counterprogrammed, It’s Complicated, fared well with a more than respectable $22 million for fourth place, and Up In The Air finally opened in theaters everywhere to nearly $12 million, which isn’t bad for a movie of its modest scale.
The only coal in the stocking: The musical Nine, hampered by bad reviews (and by sucking), earned a dismal $5.5 million for 8th place, and tapped its way out of major Oscar consideration. In happier limited release news, Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, featuring Heath Ledger’s final performance, wrangled up enough cult enthusiasm to take $32,500 per screen on four screens—the highest per screen average of any opener this week.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.