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David Poland

By David Poland

Avatar Numbers… Again…

There are only two films in box office history that have shown anything quite like Avatar’s second weekday block so far- The Chronicles of Narnia and Titanic.
Obviously, the traditional limits on December openings have something to do with this. But still…
Narnia started off with a $65 million, but was a bit soft, relative to that opening, on the weekdays. The movie accelerated a little on its second set of weekdays – from $3.6m to $5.7m on Thursday 1 to 2 being the biggest leap – and faster again in its third weekday set, nearly doubling M-Wed numbers. The big number, however, was still $11.9m on Dec 26.
Titanic opened on Dec 19, the same relative Friday as Avatar. A $28.6m weekend led to a decent week. The second weekday set was up about 35% a day, though there was a massive jump from Christmas Eve, a down day every year, and New Year’s Eve, a very strong box office day. That New Year’s Eve high was $11.6m.
Last Tuesday, Avatar had the #3 Tuesday of all time with $16.1m, behind only The Dark Knight and opening day for Transformers. Yesterday, the number went UP – which has literally happened only 3 other times on a Tuesday in history with a gross over $8m – to $18.3 million… becoming the new #3 Tuesday of all-time.
This pushed Avatar to $250.4m in 12 days… #6 fastest all-time… and #1 non-sequel all-time.
Based on this, you’re probably looking at about $18m tomorrow and about $22m on New Year’s Eve Thursday… and about $20m on Friday, Day 15. That would make Avatar the #3 fastest grosser of all time, ahead of only TDK and Trannys 2. And there is a good shot at hitting $350m by the end of business Sunday… Day 17… pushing it to #2 behind TDK only. If for some reason it doesn’t hit $350m on Sunday, it would still be #2 all-time fastest if it hit $350 any time in the 5 days next week.
Oh yeah… there is a very real chance that the film will break $1 billion worldwide before it’s fourth weekend starts. If not, it seems pretty sure to happen in that fourth weekend.
The fastest movie to $1 billion worldwide to date is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which did it in nine weeks.

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22 Responses to “Avatar Numbers… Again…”

  1. kelzeek says:

    Is there any data out there as to how much of the revenue is being generated by the 3D and IMAX screenings? Like, what percentage of the gross is coming from theaters with 3D and IMAX ticket prices and what percentage is coming from 2D screenings?
    I’m wondering how much 3D inflation there is in this huge number. I know TDK had IMAX screenings, but it didn’t have anywhere near the inflated screens that Avatar has b/w 3D and IMAX. And Titanic had none of the inflated prices.
    Not a slam on the numbers, they’re impressive no matter what… I’m just curious.

  2. loyal says:

    Many of the box office followers seem to harp on this week still being part of the holiday cycle, that Monday and beyond will be the real sign of Avatar’s power.
    But with IMAX playing at full capacity, inflated 3D ticket prices, and the award season yet to really kick in, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen beginning 1/5/10.
    Personally, I think The Dark Knight will be passed. But it’s the other $67,442,831 that interests me most.

  3. David Poland says:

    The very rough estimate I got was that 50% of tickets sold worldwide are 3D… higher in the US than elsewhere. So even more roughly, for each $100m, that would make $50m 3D and about $12.5m of that the 3D premium.
    So… very, very, very roughly… about 12.5%.
    Happy to hear if anyone else has any insight on this.
    At some point, numbers will be tallied by the studio and the various 3D partners.

  4. Telemachos says:

    “I’m wondering how much 3D inflation there is in this huge number.”
    As a (very vague) rule of thumb, 3D adds 20-30%. So whatever domestic total AVATAR ends up with, deduct 20-30% and you’ll get the number it would’ve grossed had it been released only in 2D theaters (all other factors being equal).
    I’m guessing this 2D number will end up being around $350m — which is still amazing.

  5. David Poland says:

    PS. #2 all-time plus 12.5% is roughly $1.26b

  6. David Poland says:

    And loyal… those box office followers are full of excrement. Yes, there is a holiday box office effect…but it also why the opening was smaller, etc.
    There is no precedent in December for this kind of second weekend weekday uptick at this level… anyone who suggests that the story of a movie doing $350m domestic and as much as $900m worldwide in 17 days is primarily AFTER the 17 days is… well… seriously, guys.
    There are other movies that dropped off and only did another $50m – $75 after a quick run to $350m. But those quick runs were 23 and 26 days, not 17. $475m is looking like the low potential number domestically at this point.
    The only possible story… and I still think it’s 95% unlikely… is a run at Titanic.

  7. David Poland says:

    Telemachos – 20% – 30% of ticket price for 3D. That doesn’t consider the tickets bought for 2D,

  8. Telemachos says:

    That’s true — like I said, it’s really rough. My point was only that no matter how you slice it, the film is huge.

  9. Tofu says:

    New Year’s Eve, a very strong box office day
    New Year’s Eve is an atrocious day at the Box Office, weekday or weekend day. Avatar hasn’t a chance of increasing on that day. It’ll cross $350 million on Monday.

  10. Tofu says:

    Reading over again, I see this was in regards to Titanic, but the point stands, historically everything drops on New Year’s Eve.
    Titanic made $11.5 million on New Year’s Day, not Eve. The highest New Year’s Eve is held by Meet The Fockers’ $12.1 million day.

  11. Tofu says:

    Oh, and while I’m nitpicking:
    That would make Avatar the #3 fastest grosser of all time, behind only TDK and Trannys 2.

  12. mutinyco says:

    I remember while watching the E.T. re-release back in ’02, thinking what a bizarre movie it was to have been #1 for so long.
    From Jaws onward, all of the other top grossers — Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Titanic — were big action/adventure/FX movies.
    But E.T. was this small intimate story about childhood. It’s odd to think in this era a movie like that doing so well.

  13. Steven Kar says:

    The following is from
    “Avatar has the obvious benefit of 3-D and IMAX surcharges added in as well, a vaguely incalculable factor that could account for anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of its gross to date. We do know that the cash from all 3-D screens represented around 77 percent of Avatar

  14. bmcintire says:

    If my distant memory serves me, box office receipts on New Year’s Eve day do relatively well, while New Year’s Eve night sucks, sucks, sucks. With AVATAR, it will pretty much be a wash. I am betting it beats MEET THE FOCKERS, but it won’t be able to hold on to its upper-teens numbers. A nice round $13M is my guess for tomorrow.

  15. anghus says:

    marginalizing the box office of avatar seems really pointless. it’s going to be huge. It might not be the John Holmes of cinematic cock, but it’s still going to do some damage.

  16. Deathtongue_Groupie says:

    If the coming weekend holds, the TDK will fall sometime around the end of January assuming that once school goes back into session and we have expected drops over the course of the month. It astounds me that this is now very probable. Until we see the 4th weekend drop, I’m still unconvinced there’s a strong chance at topping TITANIC’s $600M domestic record (or $1.8B worldwide).
    But even that is going to be interesting, because James Cameron will then have the No 1 and No 2 on both charts.

  17. And hey, with no new releases this weekend? Are people gonna go back and see Avatar again and how high can it remain for a third weekend?

  18. Geoff says:

    I have seen the movie three times and love it, but I think The Dark Knight is pretty safe – this will likely top out in the high ‘400’s.
    This actually looks like a pretty strong January – Tooth Fairy, Book of Eli, Edge of Darkness – people forget that last year’s Christmas releases absolutely had their legs chopped off by an very crowded and strong January with Paul Blart, Taken, and the expansios of Gran Turino and Slumdog. Films that looked like mega-blockbusters after big openings like Benjamin Button and Marley & Me really faded, barely grossing much more than three times their openings. And people forget, Benjamin Button got a TON of Oscar nominations, too.
    Not really seeing that happening with Avatar, but it should weaken a bit. The Dark Knight was really a perfect storm kind of thing – it had twice the opening and no real action competition for the next two months.

  19. David Poland says:

    The movieline thing is ridiculous. Presumptions with nothing suggesting accuracy at all.
    For instance, at The Grove, here in LA, there is now one 2D screening a day to every four in 3D.
    “the women whose Titanic freakdom drove that film

  20. IOIOIOI says:

    If I have to be sensible, then I am going with Geoff on this one. Avatar is obviously the film people chose to see this holiday season. Good for them, but January is no longer a wasteland. You have a vampire flick coming in a week, and we all know how people feel about the VAMPS at the moment.
    So it had a hell of a run, FOX can sell a genre film, and Cameron can REALLY do whatever he wants. Now, Warners, move Harry Potter to the same time next year, and smoke these numbers.

  21. IOIOIOI says:

    Oh yeah, in case any of you get the wrong idea, Warners needs to move Harry to the same point because it could be a new honeyspot for a couple of years. What better film to exploit that day then Deathly Hallows part one next year?

  22. I’m pretty sure Harry Potter is staying put. It’s the same weekend-before-Thanksgiving slot that they opened parts 1, 2, and 4 to massive opening weekends. And 7.2 opens on the same mid-July spot where Warner killed with HP 5, HP6, The Dark Knight (and this summer with Inception). I’ve always said that the weekend before Christmas is the best opening weekend of the year, for obvious reasons (you get two weeks of ‘weekend days’ after your hopefully solid opening weekend). What worked for Titanic, Lord of the Rings, and I Am Legend now worked for Avatar.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

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