To find the last time Avatar wasn’t the most popular film in America, you have to go all the way back to the weekend of December 11 when The Princess and The Frog topped the box office with $24.2 million. So huzzah to Dear John for doing what has felt like the impossible: knocking the nine-time Oscar nominee out of the top position for the first time in two months. Finally! As we do each Monday, here’s a breakdown of the top five at the box office.
1. Dear John: $32.4 million ($32.4 million total)
The Super Bowl wasn’t the only place to find an upset over the weekend. Chalk up the surprise success of Dear John to counterprogramming and the power of Twilight fans. While the boys were busy preparing for the big game (and not buying tickets for the red meat action provided by From Paris With Love), the girls rushed to theaters to see Channing Tatum romance Amanda Seyfried and shed some tears; a ridiculous 84 percent of Dear John‘s audience was female and 64 percent were under 21. Those percentages allowed the Nicholas Sparks adaptation posting the biggest Super Bowl weekend ever, topping the $31.1 million Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds grossed in 2008. Of course if all those girls knew they could get the same pang in their heart from the adorable Google commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, we have a feeling the results might have been a tad different.
2. Avatar: $23.6 million ($630 million total)
And so the reign of Avatar as the number one move in America has ended. Before you shed a tear though, remember that over the last eight weeks Avatar shattered the all-time domestic and international grosses held by Titanic and scored nine Oscar nominations. Heck, it even broke another record this weekend. Despite not finishing first, Avatar still scored the biggest eighth weekend ever, besting—you guessed it—Titanic. And in case you were wondering: it was Lost in Space that ended the historic 15-week run of Titanic back in April of 1999.
3. From Paris With Love: $8.1 million ($8.1 million total)
Disaster said what? Not only did From Paris With Love give John Travolta his worst opening since Lucky Numbers in 2000 (we don’t remember it either), but it also grossed less than Battlefield Earth. Altogether now: bombs away!
4. Edge of Darkness: $7 million ($29 million total)
And speaking of bombs… those holding out hope that the word of mouth for Edge of Darkness would salvage its soft start can stop now. Down 59 percent, the Mel Gibson revenge flick was certainly not the image rehabilitating hit the former star needed. Also not image rehabilitating? Mr. Gibson calling a reporter an “asshole.”
5. The Tooth Fairy: $6.5 million ($34.3 million total)
So this is happening, huh? For the second straight week, The Tooth Fairy showed remarkably solid legs and now looks poised to be a money maker for 20th Century Fox. Down an Avatar-like 35 percent, the Dwayne Johnson kiddie flick proved unquestionably that kids will indeed watch anything.
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