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    GORDON AND THE WHALE NEWSLETTER



AVATAR finally loses top spot at the box office…to DEAR JOHN?

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
February 7th, 2010

The latest Nicholas Sparks' novel to get the film treatment, DEAR JOHN, already held a special place of honor in my heart before it even opened this week. When I saw the film a few weeks back, I knew it, I could feel it in my very bones. This film would go down in history. I just didn't expect that DEAR JOHN's place in history would be so very different in a countrywide sense. Its place in my heart? A place of utter disdain, a spitting sort of hatred. For everyone else, DEAR JOHN's place is as the film that finally knocked AVATAR out of the top spot at the box office, breaking the epic's record before it could crack eight weeks at number one. You can probably sense my annoyance with this record. DEAR JOHN opened with over $32 million in box office returns this weekend. In terms of "Nicholas Sparks brand" openings, DEAR JOHN absolutely crushed its predecessors - 1999's MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE is the second-highest earner, with only $16.7 million in its opening week. Something like the wildly popular THE NOTEBOOK built on its box office, opening with $13.4 million before going on to make over $81 million worldwide. As the highest overall earner for a Sparks flick, THE NOTEBOOK remains the one to beat. With the next Sparks adaptation, THE LAST SONG, opening at the end of March, and a dismal 29% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, I doubt we'll be seeing DEAR JOHN holding on to even top-five billing by next week.

AVATAR's eighth weekend at the box office brought in an additional $23.6 million, bringing the film's wordwide total to over $2.2 billion. The film has now made over $630 million domestically, with over $1.57 billion in foreign take. And, in case you forgot, AVATAR is the all-time top earner for any film ever. Just a fun bit of trivia you may not have heard. Okay, want some trivia you can use? AVATAR is only the twenty-first highest earner for adjusted box office returns. Per Box Office Mojo's ever-so-nifty ticket-price-inflation chart, GONE WITH THE WIND still reigns supreme. AVATAR also places behind 101 DALMATIONS, TITANIC, STAR WARS, and even THE GRADUATE on this chart.

There are still other movies out there, but this week marked a relatively boring release schedule, so there's nearly nothing else to talk about. But we will!

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, the week's only other wide release, took the third spot with over $8.1 million. Though it won't reach the unexpected levels of director Pierre Morel's previous effort, TAKEN, most people seem to be having a damn good time when going to see it, providing a nice alternative for anyone burnt out on AVATAR and seeking to avoid romantic overload with DEAR JOHN or the upcoming VALENTINE'S DAY.

Beyond that, SHERLOCK HOLMES has finally cracked the $200 million mark, UP IN THE AIR has now made over $75 million, and NINE continues to be a financial disaster (eight weeks in theaters, still has not cracked $20 million).

Next week, we have the long-awaited THE WOLFMAN to look forward to, along with VALENTINE'S DAY to cater to the softies in the world, and PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF for the kids and those hungry for a new franchise to get into. What did you see this week? What are you seeing next week?

Source Box Office Mojo

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