"Avatar" ready for sixth box office win

Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:11pm EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Avatar" will take a bit longer to fly past the domestic and worldwide box office records set by "Titanic," but the sci-fi smash clearly is charting a similar course.

When "Avatar" again tops the weekend box office in North America -- yes, when, not if, despite three wide releases hitting theaters Friday -- James Cameron's latest blockbuster will mark a sixth consecutive No. 1 frame.

Cameron's "Titanic" was the last picture to do so, in 1998. In fact, the oceanliner-disaster film topped the domestic box office a record 15 consecutive weekends during the course of its 10-month theatrical run in 1997-98. Nobody expects "Avatar" to last quite that long, as releases are much more front-loaded these days, but there seems no immediate end in sight for its chart-topping prowess.

"Avatar" looks likely to ring up $25 million this session. That would give the box office magnet a domestic total of about $550 million and a worldwide tally approaching $1.8 billion as it closes in on the "Titanic" records of $600.8 million and $1.84 billion, respectively.

Among the new pictures, two appear strong, with prospective bows in the mid-teen millions. Fox opens the Dwayne Johnson family comedy "Tooth Fairy," and Screen Gems sends out the sci-fi actioner "Legion," starring Lucas Black ("Jarhead") and Paul Bettany ("Creation").

There hasn't been a family comedy released of late, which gives "Tooth Fairy" a good shot at grabbing the boxoffice silver medal this weekend. "Legion" is tracking best among male youngsters.

A maiden theatrical voyage by newbie distributor CBS Films -- the drama "Extraordinary Measures," starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser -- should gross in the middle single-digit millions through Sunday.

<p>Cast member Michelle Rodriguez poses at the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>