Box office: ‘Valentine’s Day’ tops as ‘Avatar’ slides further down and controversial political drama ‘My Name Is Khan’ surprises
Feb. 14 update: Valentine’s Day will have grossed an estimated $52.4 million by Sunday night according to weekend (Feb. 12–14, ’10) box office estimates. Despite mediocre reviews, the Garry Marshall-directed all-star romantic comedy soared to the top of the North American box office chart, easily outpacing the competition with an excellent $14,300 per screen average from 3,665 theaters.
Valentine’s Day stars, among others:
‘Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ vs. ‘The Wolfman’
As per more studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, trailing Valentine’s Day in second place was Chris Columbus’ adventure flick Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, starring Logan Lerman. The fantasy adventure took in $31.1 million at 3,356 locations, scoring a solid $9,267 per screen average – and thus surpassing The Wolfman over the weekend proper after trailing it on Friday.
Joe Johnston’s poorly received The Wolfman, toplining Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro (Traffic, 2000) and Best Actor Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), was no. 3 with $30.6 million from at 3,222 sites, and $9,506 per screen.
Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver, Avatar was a distant no. 4 – but still holding strong on its ninth weekend with a remarkable $22 million and a mere 4 percent drop from last weekend thanks to expected great business on both Saturday and Sunday. Total to date: $659.6 million.
‘Dear John,’ ‘Tooth Fairy’
Last week’s no. 1 movie, the romantic tearjerker Dear John, plummeted to the no. 5 spot. Starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, this tale about star-crossed lovers earned a solid $15.3 million – $53.1 million total after ten days.
At a distant no. 6, Dwayne Johnson’s Tooth Fairy, co-starring Best Actress Academy Award winner Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, 1964), grossed an estimated $5.6 million over the weekend thanks to kiddie business. Considered one of the worst movies of the year, possibly the century, Tooth Fairy has thus far amassed $41.5 million in the U.S. and Canada.
‘Crazy Heart’ beats faster following Oscar nods
Pierre Morel’s flop From Paris with Love, toplining John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, was no. 7 with $4.7 million ($15.8 million cume). It was followed by Mel Gibson’s underwhelming revenge thriller Edge of Darkness with $4.5 million ($36 million cume) and Jeff Bridges-Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Crazy Heart with $4 million (a 12 percent increase; $16.5 million cume). The Scott Cooper-directed drama has clearly benefited from its three Oscar nominations.
Controversial ‘My Name Is Khan’ surprises
Rounding out the top thirteen were:
- Denzel Washington’s post-apocalyptic drama The Book of Eli with $3.2 million.
- Sandra Bullock’s indefatigable The Blind Side with $2.2 million. Total: $244.6 million.
- Surprisingly, the controversial Bollywood drama/musical My Name Is Khan.
Directed by Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan’s star vehicle about an autistic Muslim facing discrimination in the United States following the 2001 terrorist attacks caused a furor in India after Khan was lambasted by the nationalist Hindu party Shiv Sena.
The film’s $15,500 per screen average at 120 theaters was the highest among the weekend’s top 20 movies on the North American box office chart.
‘Up in the Air,’ ‘New Moon’
Other movies earning more than 1 million over the weekend in the U.S. and Canada are:
- Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air with $1.7 million.
Cast: George Clooney. Vera Farmiga. Anna Kendrick.
- Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes with $1.54 million.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. Jude Law. Rachel McAdams.
- Scott Stewart’s Legion with $1.52 million.
Cast: Paul Bettany. Dennis Quaid.
- Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated with $1.22 million.
Cast: Meryl Streep. Steve Martin. Alec Baldwin.
- Betty Thomas’ Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel with $1.2 million.
Cast: Zachary Levi. David Cross. Jason Lee.
Also worth noting, Chris Weitz’s fantasy romance The Twilight Saga: New Moon added another $559,000 (up 102.2 percent) on Valentine’s weekend for a domestic total of $294.9 million. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner star.
‘Valentine’s Day,’ ‘The Wolfman’ and ‘Percy Jackson’ force ‘Avatar’ down the box office chart
Feb. 13 p.m. update: Avatar was dethroned last weekend by Dear John. This extended President’s Day weekend, Feb. 12–15, ’10, it looks like James Cameron’s 3D sci-fier will be a little bit ahead of the romantic tearjerker starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.
So, is Avatar back to the no. 1 slot? Well, not exactly. In fact, not even close.
According to Friday (Feb. 12) estimates found at Box Office Mojo, Avatar was far outgrossed by no less than three new releases: Valentine’s Day, The Wolfman, and Percy Jackson & The Olympians.
Although reviews have been way less than ecstatic, Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day took in an estimated $14.6 million – or nearly $2 million less than early estimates (see further below). The romantic comedy stars, among others:
Julia Roberts. Jessica Alba. Eric Dane. Taylor Lautner. Jessica Biel. Shirley MacLaine. Bradley Cooper.
Topher Grace. Anne Hathaway. Taylor Swift. Patrick Dempsey. Ashton Kutcher. Queen Latifah.
‘The Wolfman,’ ‘Percy Jackson & The Olympians’
Following Valentine’s Day in second place was the Joe Johnston-directed Benicio Del Toro-Anthony Hopkins horror drama The Wolfman with $9.85 million. Toplining Logan Lerman, Chris Columbus’ adventure flick Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief landed right behind it, with $7.75 million.
Avatar was a distant no. 4, beginning its ninth weekend with a still impressive $4.8 million. Starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, Dear John was no. 5 with $4.12 million.
The no. 6 movie was Dwayne Johnson’s Tooth Fairy, which always performs much better on weekends than on weekdays, with $1.29 million. To date, the poorly received fairy tale co-starring Julie Andrews has grossed $37.2 million.
John Travolta, Mel Gibson flop
The John Travolta-Jonathan Rhys Meyers flop From Paris with Love earned only $1.18 million at 2,722 screens (a meager $434 average), while Mel Gibson’s revenge thriller Edge of Darkness fared even worse with $1.02 million ($392 per screen and a poor $32.9 million after 15 days).
Next in line were Jeff Bridges’ Crazy Heart with $870,000 and the Kristen Bell-Josh Duhamel romantic comedy When in Rome with $815,000.
Rounding out the top thirteen were Denzel Washington’s post-apocalyptic drama The Book of Eli with $715,000; Sandra Bullock’s long-legged The Blind Side with $460,000; and Robert Downey Jr-Jude Law’s Sherlock Holmes with $325,000.
‘Valentine’s Day’ tops box office, ‘Avatar’ down two slots
Feb. 13, ’10, a.m.: Valentine’s Day is here as James Cameron’s Avatar goes from no. 2 to no. 4 at the North American box office this extended President’s Day weekend, Feb. 12–15, ’10, according to early Friday estimates.
Even so, the 3D sci-fier starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver grossed an estimated $4.8 million on Friday according to Deadline.com sources; it may end up topping $24 million on its ninth weekend out. (I’m assuming that includes Monday, President’s Day.)
Last weekend, Avatar grossed about $22 million, falling behind new entry Dear John.
All-star ‘Valentine’s Day’ tops
The no. 1 movie on Friday was, as expected, the all-star Valentine’s Day, which took in $16.5 million. Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy-drama is expected to gross a total of $60 million over the four-day weekend. Among others, the cast includes:
Julia Roberts. Jessica Alba. Anne Hathaway. Taylor Lautner. Shirley MacLaine. Bradley Cooper. Topher Grace. Taylor Swift. Ashton Kutcher.
Tailing Valentine’s Day were both Chris Columbus’ Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and the Benicio Del Toro vehicle The Wolfman, with $10.5 million each.
Dear John, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, was no. 5 with $4.5 million – or only $300,000 behind Avatar.
Valentine’s Day image: Ron Batzdorff / Warner Bros.
My Name Is Khan image: 20th Century Fox.
The Wolfman image: Universal Pictures.
Shahrukh Khan, Kajol in My Name Is Khan
My Name Is Khan, starring Bollywood icon Shahrukh Khan, grossed an impressive $14.2 million from 1,692 screens in only 8 markets. It topped the box office chart in India with $9.2 million, and scored the biggest Bollywood release ever in the UK with $1.5 million, the United Arab Emirates with $1.1 million (in only 35 screens), Australia with $372K, and New Zealand with $99,000.
The all-star Valentine’s Day, featuring the likes of Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Taylor Lautner, and Anne Hathaway, grossed $30.4 million in 52 countries. Australia was the top market with $6.4 million, followed by the UK with $4.7 million, and Germany with $2.5 million. The Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, earned a somewhat disappointing $21 million (the film cost between $110 and 150 million) in 37 territories. The UK was the top market with $3.4 million, followed by Mexico with $3.2 million and Spain with $2.4 million.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief opened in 63 countries, grossing $28 million at 5,800 screens. Russia was the top market, with $3.6 million, followed by France’s $3.5 million, South Korea’s $3.3 million, and the UK’s 2.3 million.
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel earned another $4.5 million in 38 countries. Top countries totals include those in the UK with $34.5 million, Brazil with $20m, and Germany with $14.9 million.
Photos: My Name Is Khan(20th Century Fox); Valentine’s Day (Ron Batzdorff / Warner Bros.)
Zoe Saldana in Avatar
Avatar stayed at the top of the international box office for the ninth consecutive weekend with an estimated $59 million in ticket sales at 8,453 screens in 71 markets. James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic has amassed a total of $1.69 billion to date. Among its top markets are China ($155 million), Japan ($121.9 million), Germany ($125.4 million), France ($156.5 million), Spain ($92.9 million), Australia ($92.9 million), and Italy ($78.5m).
Avatar‘s staggering box office success has pleased 20th Century Fox, James Cameron, and others, but definitely not everyone. Brazil and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus director Terry Gilliam, for one, complained at the London Evening Standard British Film Awards: “There are so many small, beautiful film-makers and actors and directors with so much potential that just can’t get a look in because the studios are just pumping all their money into these huge projects. There are such incredible lower-budget films that are magical, but we’ve got our work cut out with things like Avatar coming out. How are these young talents supposed to get a look in without the budget? That’s the sad thing, because they are just as good.”
Box-office figures source: Screen Daily
Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox)
It’s hard to tell if the Academy Award nominations have done much for most of the nominated films. Several Oscar nominees had a minor box office increase the day the nominations were announced and smaller ones on the following day or so, but with perhaps four or five exceptions – The Blind Side, A Single Man, An Education, Up in the Air, and most notably Crazy Heart – that has been about it. Avatar has done great business in the last couple of weeks, but it’s the kind of business the blockbuster had been doing prior to the Oscar announcement.
Curiously, the Oscar nominations seem to have had their strongest effect by far on a film that wasn’t nominated for Best Picture: Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart. Although it’s impossible to say exactly how much the Jeff Bridges vehicle would have made without its three Oscar nods (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress for Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Best Original Song for “The Weary Kind”) it’s unlikely it’d have reached even close to its current $17.5 million.
Below is a list of the five Best Picture nominees that are still playing, with their total box-office take on Feb. 2, the day of the Oscar announcements, and their most recent figures, estimates for Feb. 15. Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man, Pete Docter’s Up, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 ended their run before the Oscar nominations announcement.
- Avatar, d: James Cameron, with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Laz Alonso. 20th Century Fox, nine nominations. Feb. 2: $598 million; Feb. 15: $667.6 million.
- The Blind Side, d: John Lee Hancock, with Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron. Warner Bros., two nominations. Feb. 2: $238 million; Feb. 15: $245.1 million.
- Up in the Air, d: Jason Reitman, with George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick. Paramount, six nominations. Feb. 2: $73 million; Feb. 15: $79.5 million.
- Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, d: Lee Daniels, with Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey. Lionsgate, six nominations. Feb. 2: $45 million; Feb. 15: $46.5 million.
- An Education, d: Lone Scherfig, with Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina. Sony Pictures Classics, three nominations. Feb. 2: $9 million; Feb. 15: $10.6.
Photo: Crazy Heart (Lorey Sebastian / 20th Century Fox)
Box Office Figures: Box Office Mojo
Logan Lerman in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
This past weekend was particularly good at the North American box office thanks to Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, a day that is usually softer than both Friday and Saturday. President’s Day falling on the Monday after didn’t do any harm, either.
Somewhat surprisingly, the top movie on Monday was Chris Columbus’ Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, with $7.4 million and a total of $38.6 million after four days according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. The weekend’s top grosser, Garry Marshall’s all-star romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, fell to #2, with $6.8 million and a pretty impressive total of $63.1 million. Valentine’s Day stars Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner, Eric Dane, Shirley MacLaine, Taylor Swift, Bradley Cooper, Topher Grace, and many others.
Following in third place was James Cameron’s Avatar with $5.1 million and $666.3 million to date. Joe Johnston’s poorly received Benicio Del Toro-Anthony Hopkins vehicle The Wolfman was #4 with $4 million and a disappointing $35.5 million to date. I say “disappointing” because The Wolfman cost somewhere between $110 and $150 million. And thus far the horror drama hasn’t been doing all that great overseas, either.
The previous weekend’s #1 movie, the romantic tearjerker Dear John, was #5. Starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, this tale of two star-crossed lovers earned $2.1 million for a $56 million cume. At #6, Dwayne Johnson’s Tooth Fairy, co-starring Julie Andrews, grossed $1.9 million thanks to kiddie business.
In fact, movies that are supposed to appeal to children fared the best in percentage terms on Monday. In other words, Percy Jackson, Tooth Fairy, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel had the smallest percentage drops (20-27 percent) from Sunday. But expect huge drops when Tuesday’s box office figures are announced.
The John Travolta-Jonathan Rhys Meyers vehicle From Paris with Love was #7 with $857K, followed by Mel Gibson’s $80-million revenge thriller Edge of Darkness with $729K (and only $37 million to date), and Jeff Bridges‘ Crazy Heart with $716K and $17.5 million to date. At #10, the Kristen Bell-Josh Duhamel romantic comedy When in Rome took in $595K.
Rounding out the top fifteen were Denzel Washington’s post-apocalyptic drama The Book of Eli ($579K), Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel ($415K), Sandra Bullock’s The Blind Side ($405K), Shahrukh Khan’s controversial Bollywood drama/musical My Name Is Khan ($320K and $2,675 per screen, the highest average among the top twenty films) and Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes ($295K).
Photos: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Doane Gregory / 20th Century Fox)