Box-office preview: 'Avatar' and 'Edge of Darkness' battle for No. 1

This weekend will mark Avatar’s seventh weekend in theaters. In that time it’s become the highest-grossing film of all time, crossing Titanic’s worldwide gross of $1.843 billion and likely to cross the $2 billion mark this weekend. With only one more record left to cross — Titanic’s domestic gross of $600 million (Avatar is likely to pass that milestone by mid-week) — this may be the first weekend that another film could take the top spot at the box office. And who has a shot at taking over the new title: none other than Mel Gibson, the actor who three years ago was as close to untouchable in Hollywood as they came. Oh, how times have changed. Give the 53-year old veteran an R-rated revenge drama and all seems to be forgiven. Tracking is doing well with older men, and the film is likely to debut in the mid-$20 million range, a number far below his 1996 film Ransom but better than his 2002 showing of We Were Soldiers. Also battling for some cash this frame is When in Rome, the romantic comedy starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. Read on for my predictions.

1. Avatar: $27 million
I’m still convinced this film has another weekend in the top spot. Between the elevated ticket prices from 3-D sales, which are accounting for even more than 80 percent of the weekend grosses as the theaters open up a bit, and the must-see factor which still must be around considering the scant drops each weekend, this movie is constantly over-performing. Perhaps it will drop more than the 20 percent, which has been the norm, but I don’t predict it will be by much.

2. Edge of Darkness: $24 million
Yes, older men want to see this movie, but older men are not box-office drivers. The reviews have been kind, but in order to get older men to the theaters, you’ve got to get the older women in, and I’m not sure that many are inclined to see a brutal murder scene followed by a desperate man on a rampage.

3. When in Rome: $8 million
Disney is promoting this romantic comedy as “by the studio that brought you The Proposal,” but there’s no way anyone’s going to mistake Kristen Bell for Sandra Bullock. Star power matters in romantic comedies, and Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel don’t seem like big enough names to carry a film like this. The weak reviews aren’t going to help, which is a shame because a solid chick flick could do some business in theaters right now.

4. Legion: $7 million
This Screen Gems film about winged angels may have been the leader of the holdovers last frame, but with awful exit polls I predict at least a 60 percent drop this weekend.

5. The Tooth Fairy: $6 million
Dwayne Johnson’s latest didn’t connect with the family audience as they usually do. It didn’t help that the reviews for his role as the mean hockey player forced into the role of Tooth Fairy didn’t sing. I would guess the film drops 55 percent this weekend.

Comments (70 total) Add your comment
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  • TellyB

    “Disney is promoting this romantic comedy as “by the studio that brought you The Proposal,” but there’s no way anyone’s going to mistake Kristen Bell for Sandra Bullock”

    Not to mention that Bell can’t act to save her life…

    • Kim

      Yes she can. >_>

      • Ambient Light

        Hey guys. I’m a sexy blonde and I love to get naughty over the phone and also naughty text message/picture. Anyone interested in having a good time?

      • Ambient Lite

        Wow, how can I be mad? You nailed it. That’s me to a T.

      • TellyB

        LOL!!! No she can’t. She is a MeganFox/JessicaAlba-level actress, and as such, she only gets offered crappy films like Couples’ Retreat and When In Rome.

      • MaxwellHouser

        omg pulse was cinematic masterpiece

      • ugh

        are you fogetting (ha) Forgetting Sarah Marshall???

        oh that’s right, you don’t watch good movies…

      • Marcus Johnson

        Hey, AmbientLight, if you’re a sexy blonde who likes to talk dirty, maybe you can star in this new romantic comedy with Josh Duhamel. I think the title is called…um…When in…something…

    • Eliott

      Shut up and go and watch Veronica Mars

      • Eliott

        This was aimed at TellyB

      • Elliott

        Sorry, Telly. I’m just a loser, and I know Bell can’t act, but she makes me happy at night. At by that I mean, my left hand makes me happy at night, while I look at pics of Bell in her bikini…

      • Elliot

        That last comment was not me. Im sure it was Telly. I am going to hunt him down and execute him. I have a friend who can trace IP’s off websites. His time on earth is short.

      • @FakeElliot

        Veronica Mars was one of the best shows on television, and mainly so because of Kristen Bell’s powerful performance as the titular character. She really is a gorgeous woman as well, but that’s only part of the package. I don’t want to attack anyone, just say that if you watched one of those episodes of Veronica Mars you’d see what a talent she is.

      • Wha?

        Yeah, gorgeous….if you like skinny cross-eyes girls with over-bleached hair.

      • Eliott

        You know, that would have been so much more convincing if you’d have actually spelt my name right. Fail.

      • Eliott

        I take it back…after watching PULSE, I realize that KB is indeed a horrific “actress”… and TellyB is awesome (I am a loser)

      • Eliott

        If we’re going by the rule that one bad movie, a bad actress doth make, then pretty much everyone in the industry is f***ed aren’t they?

      • Paul

        I think TellyB’s been taking one too many trips to the medical, shall we say, pot stand ;)

    • TellyB

      I know I’m a stupid loser, you don’t have to point it out. Gee you guys are mean

    • Squinty

      Kristen Bell is one of the most talented young actresses Hollywood has to offer. Ever seen her Veronica Mars or Reefer Madness? Probably not, so shut your damn mouth when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Squinty

        And I should know. I’m a film student. That makes me much smarter and more of an authority than all of you. So there!

  • crispy


  • Ambient Lite

    People must either have very short memories or are more forgiving than I would expect. But I’m done with Mel Gibson…for-evah!
    I hope that mess isn’t what ends up unseating Avatar.

    • crispy

      Better this than that horrible looking John Travolta movie opening the following week. Honestly, closet-case, autism-denying, cult-worshiping nutcase Travolta bothers me way more than Mel “SugarTits” Gibson. Perhaps Avatar can hold on until mid-Feb when that stateside remake of Love Actually opens. I know you’re just dying to see Tay-Squared. :)

      • Ambient Lite

        I am not fond of either of them, but sugartits is fueled by hate and Barbarino is fueled by ignorance. I didn’t see sugartits dropping supplies to Haiti last week, he was too busy damning you and I to hell (different reasons, same hell. See you there I guess).
        And yeah, I’m totally excited for Valentine’s Day! What a cast! And though I think I’ve been as clear with my team affiliation as you have, wolfy WILL be legal by then…dirty twimoms, rejoice!

      • crispy

        Well, at least now we know who’s doing the name-jacking.

        Yo, Ambient, I think I’m giving up on this site. Between the obvious paid editorial lately and the increase in retarded trolls, it’s sorta lost its luster.

      • Ambient Lite

        I am so sick of it. You’d think EW would block vile pieces of crap like this.

      • crispy

        They need to have a registration system so that everyone gets a unique username.

      • Ambient Lite

        I wish they would. This is beyond offensive and wrong.

      • ugh

        u should be used to offensive and wrong by now on the internet,
        this is just annoying

  • Laura Graff

    I’d watch Mel Gibson anyday over
    a cartoon like program any day. I quit watching cartoons over 50 years ago.

    • Ambient Lite

      Really, it doesn’t bother you that he’s a racist, homophobic, anti-semite who covers his slips with blame of alcoholism? You’re able to just look past that and cheer him on?

      • Shamrock

        Everybody seems to look past Roman Polanski’s crime and nominate him for Oscars.

      • Ambient Lite

        Oh, and he’s sexist, I forgot about that one.
        Shamrock, I don’t know that EVERYBODY looks past Polanski’s past, but many certainly do.

      • Blue Silver

        What’s the big deal Ambient? Mel has had his spills, yes….citing racism, homophobia, etc….that’d be most of Hollywood. And that’s just based on what I read and hear about. Big freakin’ deal! You always target people on this board and ‘hate’ them, belittle them, prejudge them, and flat out bully them. Everyone has a right to his/her opinion. So what? You don’t have to agree or even LIKE IT. Back the hell off. Yes, I will be seeing Mel Gibson’s film. It will ROCK!! YES, THIS IS MY POV. YOU DON’T HAVE TO AGREE WITH ME…AGAIN, BACK OFF!!! :p

      • Shamrock

        So you’ve never seen any of RP films?

      • Ambient Lite

        Blue, I really don’t think I bully people – I certainly don’t want to. If you look closely at my comment, I’m bullying Mel Gibson, not the commenter. I meant (very literally) that I think it’s interesting when fans are willing to look past things things like that and continue to support them. If you’re someone who can do that, go for it.

      • Shamrock

        Ambient, you must not see a lot of movies then.

      • Blue Silver

        Ambient. Responding to you is a primary example of what you’re preaching! Having said that, I will ignore your future posts!!!

      • Ambient Lite

        I’m sure I’ve inadvertently supported actors and filmmakers that share some of those same views. I probably own blood diamonds. I’m not perfect. But when someone goes out of their way to publicly denounce things I believe in or spews hate loudly enough for all to hear (the way Mel Gibson does) I take notice and try not to support them.
        I just think it’s interesting that so many people are able to set their own beliefs aside and support these kinds of people.

      • John

        Oh Ambient Lite, it must be hard having the ability and authority to pass judgment on everyone. Keep trolling.

      • ?

        Okay, he’s not the best person ever, but you say he’s a “racist, homophobic anti-semite” (and then later thrown in “sexist”).

        He’s never been accused of saying anything racist. He did make the anti-semitic comment, but he’s never been accused of racism. And it was actually one of the police officers who uttered the sugar t*ts comment, not Gibson (it was apparently a regular expression for the officer).

        So while he did say something he admitted to be anti-semitic and wrong, let’s not throw every horrible label at him just for the heck of it.

      • Blue Silver

        Instead of trolling, why is no one mentioning the fact that Mel Gibson donated $1 million as well as the sets to the indigenous people in the small Mexican village where Apocalypto was filmed? Why such ‘hate’ for the sake of hating…Even worse, trying to justify the reasons for such labels. No one is perfect. Labeling people and passing judgment(especially anonymously)is characteristic of people from the lowest denominator. Look in the mirror Ambient(YES YOU)!

    • Laura Graff

      Also, if anyone wants any nude photos of me just let me know

  • sabrina

    avatar will be number one until alice in wonderland opens up in march

    • Ambient Lite

      Nah, Valentine’s Day would unseat it first. And Remember Me will unseat Alice in Wonderland after the first week (if nothing else does).

      • Jenny

        What on earth makes you think Remember Me will unseat Alice in Wonderland when Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson and The Wolfman ALL also open that weekend? I’d like Pattinson to get the hell away from Twilight and have a successful film, but I try to be realistic about it.

      • Kelsey

        Actually, the better question would be, how can Remember Me unseat Alice in Wonderland when it opens almost a MONTH BEFORE Alice in Wonderland? Remember Me is out Feb. 12 (along with like three or four big films) and Alice is out March 5.
        Jenny’s basic point is sound, though — there’s so much stuff opening on Feb. 12 that Remember Me is probably going to get lost in the shuffle.

  • Shamrock

    I know everyone brings up Pochantas when talking about Avatar’s story, but has anyone mentioned the novella “Call Me Joe”
    which centers on a paraplegic — Ed Anglesey — who telepathically connects with an artificially created life form in order to explore a harsh planet (in this case, Jupiter). Anglesey, like Avatar’s Jake Sully, revels in the freedom and strength of his artificial created body, battles predators on the surface of Jupiter, and gradually goes native as he spends more time connected to his artificial body.

  • terry

    Well, if Avatar holds on, I think it will be the Wolfman that knocks it off it’s perch. That’s another film that has the fanboys salivating and young women love horror films. Plus you’ve got Benecio and Anthony. But I think Mel’s movie will do it. But I don’t get the racist part. I can understand anti semite, but I’m not aware of any racial statements unless you’re referring to his anti-semitism in which case that would be redundant.

    • Ambient Lite

      No, I meant racist. One example would be his support of Michael Richards after his own racist spew while doing stand-up.
      But his antisemitism has certainly been more blatant.

      • Shamrock

        Ambient Lite, the moral crusader of the entertainment world.

      • Ambient Lite

        Sigh. That is so unfair. The author of the column brought up the same thing I did, you know.

  • Romulas

    “From the studio that brought you the proposal”? Are studio marketers retarded or do they just think the general public is? What’s next, ‘Playing in the same multiplex that played the proposal’?

    • crispy

      “From the same camera that filmed The English Patient!”

    • Darrin

      They must’ve stolen that advertising hook from ABC – “From the network that brought you Gray’s Anatomy…”

  • joesmom

    Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are both on my “do not watch” list. I don’t care how good their films are, I will never watch them. Ever.

  • Arabang

    I have just seen The Hur Locker right now.jst another war movie.its just steps steps nd stop look right nd left.jst plain boring cum on.

  • JustSomeNut

    I want to see Mel Gibson kick some ass.

  • Tom

    Saw Avatar in Toronto Thursday expecting lots of elbow room on a workday afternoon. All seats were taken but 4. Later shows appeared sold out. Maybe Avatar is just getting started. Epic fantasmal film.

  • matt

    Edge of Darkness is going to beat Avatar.

  • yvete

    Edge of darkness or Payback part 2? Seriously, you think this is the movie that is going to take down Avatar. Sounds like Mel Gibson is slipping you money under the table or you are on crack. Additionally, the Book of Eli has been kicking Legion’s butt the entire week and is far ahead, yet that movie isn’t even on your list. Finally, it’s so sexists to say that the movie favored by old men vs. the chick flick will generate more money. Is money from older men somehow greater in value than those by women? The only movie that will unseat Avatar is ‘Valentine’s Day’.

  • Karla

    I will always watch Mel Gibson´s movies…I do not care about his personal beliefs, I will watch because he is a good actor and better director. You do not hire an architect for his beliefs, you hire him for ability to do the job!

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