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Avatar Defying Gravity

James Cameron's epic 3D film Avatar (see review) appears to be defying all odds at the box office.  Most major tentpole films drop off 40-60% after massive opening weekends, while Avatar has remained almost steady for three weekends in a row now, including the highest grossing New Year's Day in history and the largest second and third weekend grosses in history.

A trip to the movie theatre to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at a local theatre on January 2nd revealed a sign on the door indicating that IMAX 3-D presentations for the day were completely sold out (a common sign around the world, with IMAX presentations of Avatar running at close to capacity). 

Opening during the lucractive Christmas season undoubtedly plays a huge part in this (especially with Christmas Day and New Year's Day falling on Friday for the first time since 1998), and the spectacle of the film being in 3D means that people who would normally wait for the Blu-ray or DVD release of the film are making excursions to see it on the big screen.  It's the first time this kind of week-over-week holding power has been seen since Cameron's own Titanic debuted in 1997, and it seems the audience for Avatar is expanding based on good word of mouth.

The competition for Avatar over the coming weeks is relatively weak.  It'll be interesting to see how long it can keep up its reign at the top of the charts, and whether it can make a run at some other heavy hitters like The Dark Knight (or maybe even Cameron's chart-topper, Titanic).  It certainly won't be able to maintain $75M weekends, but if the grosses drop by 50% week-over-week going forward, it will surpass The Dark Knight by the end of January.  The only real question is, how big will the audiences be for movies in general through the first month of 2010?

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Reader Comments (1)

I think a large part of the success of this movie is due to repeat viewings as well. I know a hand full of friends who have seen the film and are planning to go see it again in the near future. What ever Cameron's formula is, it's working in full force.

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoneTyne

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