"Avatar" ready for four-peat at box office

Thu Jan 7, 2010 7:34pm EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Avatar" is poised to become the first film to log four consecutive weekends atop the North American weekend box office since "The Dark Knight" managed the feat in summer 2008.

James Cameron's sci-fi phenom also is stalking "Dark Knight" and other all-time domestic top grossers, all while racking up an even more impressive global tally.

A 40% drop from last weekend's holiday-fueled total would mean a $40 million-plus haul for "Avatar" this session. That would take its domestic total well over $400 million, placing the Fox film smack in the midst of Hollywood's top 10 all-time grossers -- a list topped by the $600.8 million haul for Cameron's "Titanic" in 1997-98.

Fox also could wind up with the weekend's No. 2 picture as its family comedy "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" shows signs of sustained playability.

As for the weekend's wide openers, Lionsgate's futuristic vampire actioner "Daybreakers," starring Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke, should break into the mid- to high-teen millions through Sunday, and Dimension's teen comedy "Youth in Revolt" has good prospects of hitting double-digit millions.

But Universal's romantic comedy "Leap Year," starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode ("A Single Man"), is tracking softly and likely will open in the single-digit millions.

Also Friday, Paramount expands its George Clooney vehicle "Up in the Air" to a total of about 2,200 engagements. Through Sunday, the total for the awards-season favorite stood at $44.4 million after five weekends of a platform campaign.

Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," from Sony Picture Classics, will expand after four weekends of bicoastal exclusives to 550 U.S. locations. And Fox Searchlight broadens its Jeff Bridges vehicle "Crazy Heart" by 21 theaters to a total of 33, with the music-filled drama toting a haul of $702,188 through three sessions.