Weekend US box office report: Dear John dethrones Avatar

News Ron Hogan
8 Feb 2010 - 04:56

There's a new box office king in town, as Avatar is finally toppled from the top of the chart. It's taken Amanda Seyfried to do it, too...

Finally, it took two months, but someone has finally dislodged Avatar from the top spot of the box office. Of course, it took a record Super Bowl weekend box office to accomplish it, but it happened! With a stunning $32.4 million gross, the romantic drama Dear John with Channing Tatum and the wonderful Amanda Seyfried has overtaken Avatar for tops at the US box office! I haven't seen an upset like this since Mike Tyson got knocked out by Buster Douglas!

The big blue behemoth managed a respectable $23.6 million (good enough to win on a normal February weekend), but couldn't succumb to the force of thousands of women wanting to enjoy a good romantic movie to make up for the orgy of football to come on Sunday. Plus, it's nearly Valentine's Day, so it's time for these types of movies to leak out into theaters. The Nicholas Sparks pedigree helped immensely.

Taking third is another new flick, From Paris With Love (reviewed here), which took in $8.1 million. While Pierre Morel and Luc Besson's Taken had a much higher opening weekend, it had a more serious tone, a very effective trailer and (crucially) much less competition. A third place weekend is definitely respectable, considering the revenge action thriller faced competition with the very same type of movie in Edge Of Darkness. Given Gibson's instant publicity factor, it's a wonder it was able to best Edge's fourth place, $7 million weekend haul.

Rounding out the top five is Tooth Fairy. This movie just keeps on hanging around, despite itself. The flick booked another $6.5 million at the US box office, thus reminding everyone that children's movies are critic-proof.

When In Rome is the movie that suffered most from the shocking success of Dear John. The romantic comedy could not hold up under the onslaught of the romantic drama, plunging to sixth place at the box office from third last weekend, losing 55% of its business in the process. It took in $5.5 million and raises its total to just under $21 million so far, but it won't hold up very well over the long haul.

Dropping to seventh this weekend is The Book Of Eli. The not bad post-apocalyptic thriller with the unusually good cast took in $4.8 million this weekend, and just nudged past its $80 million production budget with a US total of $82 million. All in all, it's been a fairly successful run for Eli, which probably won't pass $100 million, but has at least turned a profit.

The big rise this weekend was in the hands of Crazy Heart. Jeff Bridges is getting a lot of good noise for his role as a down-on-his-luck country singer whose star has seen better days and the award buzz drove the movie to eighth place this weekend on a gross of $3.65 million in only 819 theaters. This will be one of those films that will hang around for a bit, thanks to positive word of mouth and award buzz.

Legion drops to ninth this weekend, down from sixth. The appeal of angels with guns cannot match the appeal of cherubs with bows so close to Valentine's Day. The movie banked another $3.4 million at the multiplex and will probably be gone by next week.

Sherlock Holmes is also about to wrap up its stay in the top ten. Holmes lands in tenth place this weekend on the strength of a $2.63 million weekend. Overall, Guy Richie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have managed to rake in $201 million in the States alone, which is really impressive. Even for a project with this kind of buzz, that's a great return on investment!

Next week is a big slate of releases. There's a big-budget kid-centric attempted blockbuster with Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, there's the much anticipated remake of The Wolfman starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, and, of course, there's Valentine's Day, which sneaks out the Friday right before Valentine's Day and features an ensemble cast of pretty much everyone to ever take up space in a rom-com, the 'roid-wolf from New Moon, and the sleazy guy from The Hangover.

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