January 22, 2010 / 1:16 AM / 9 years ago

"Avatar" ready for sixth box office win

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

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.

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