January 29, 2010 / 7:19 AM / 8 years ago

"Avatar" poised for seventh box office win

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - James Cameron’s “Avatar” will put a seventh notch in its domestic box office belt this weekend.

Cast member Zoe Saldana poses at the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The sci-fi epic looks likely to register more than $25 million through Sunday, and that should be plenty to top the weekend charts despite two potentially appealing wide openers set to hit theaters Friday.

Mel Gibson’s kidnap thriller “Edge of Darkness” and the romantic comedy “When in Rome” appear headed for bows in the low to mid-teen millions.

Likely to draw older-skewing audiences, “Darkness” represents Gibson’s first starring role in a film since 2002’s “Signs.” With the actor thus lacking a direct connection with any younger fan base, it’s perhaps unsurprising that must-see interest has been slack in prerelease tracking surveys.

“Mel has not been on the screen for years,” said Dan Fellman, distribution president of Warner Bros., which is distributing “Darkness” for Gibson’s Icon Prods. banner.

“I don’t know if that has any bearing on the tracking, but tracking is not always correct, and I think the playability will be good. It just might take a little word-of-mouth to get it going.”

Disney’s “When in Rome,” starring Kristen Bell (“Couples Retreat”) and Josh Duhamel (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”), will likely appeal mostly to female moviegoers.

“Teenage girls will go, but it will mostly be college kids and above,” Disney distribution president Chuck Viane predicted.

“Avatar’s” winning streak still pales in comparison to “Titanic’s” 15-week run in 1997-98. Its stay at the top is likely to last until at least Valentine’s Day weekend, which coincides with the U.S. Presidents Day holiday. New releases then include “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” “Valentine’s Day” and “The Wolfman.”

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