"Avatar" poised for eighth box office win

Fri Feb 5, 2010 2:53am EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - This could be the last time James Cameron's "Avatar" tops the domestic box office.

By next weekend, a combination of tougher competition and declining market hold should topple the all-time box office champion from the top of the theatrical heap. But for now, an eighth consecutive session atop the rankings is all but certain for the sci-fi epic.

"Avatar," whose market dominance compares with 15 chart-topping weekends for Cameron's "Titanic" in 1997-98, should fetch $25 million or more this weekend. That should be plenty to win theatrical bragging rights for the Super Bowl frame.

Meanwhile, a pair of female-targeting pictures will open wide Friday in a counterprogramming bid to lure women and football-phobic guys away from pigskin parties.

Sony sends out the romantic drama "Dear John," with Channing Tatum ("G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra") and Amanda Siegfried ("Jennifer's Body"), and Lionsgate opens "From Paris With Love," a crime thriller starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

"John" looks to be the stronger of the new pictures, with prospects of hitting $20 million.

"It's a red-hot female picture, and they will be there in a big way," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

"Paris" will travel into lower-double-digit millions but might peter out before hitting the teens. The picture's R-rating should mean an audience tilt toward older demos, with a core base of support from Travolta fans.   Continued...

<p>Director of the movie James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis pose at the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>