Avator defies skeptics earning $73 million in debut weekend.
If Avatar were the most expensive movie of all-time, there might be some responsibility to score the biggest opening-weekend of all time. But, at $240 million, Avatar was not the most expensive movie ever.
The much anticipated and debated (amongst film nerds at least) Avatar debuted this weekend with $73 million. That's the second-biggest December opening in history, behind the $77 million debut of Will Smith's I Am Legend. In Avatar's defense, I Am Legend was an hour shorter, had a great tag-line that doubled as an easy-to-understand plot synopsis ("The last man on earth is not alone."), and had the added buzz of the debuting trailers for The Dark Knight.
Avatar debuted in countless 3D and mini-IMAX screens, which increased the general ticket prices to more than overcome the running-time disadvantage. But Avatar did break one very notable record. It is the biggest debut in history for a completely unaffiliated original movie. By that, I mean it was not a sequel, not a franchise adaptation, not a literary adaptation, and not a star-vehicle. It's also racked up $159 million overseas, for a global total of $232 million. So far, general word of mouth is strong, with those who didn't go in with months of anticipation and expectations pretty much being blown away by the 3D visuals, photo-real special effects work, and large-scale action spectacle. But long-term predictions would be pure guesswork at this point. If we argue that the Saturday and Sunday snowstorms prevented otherwise interested moviegoers from checking out the picture, then we can either expect stronger than normal weekday sales or inflated second-weekend grosses.