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    Did Avatar Just Flop?

    Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Avatar 20th Century Fox

    UPDATE Aug. 30, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.: Takers took the top spot from The Last Exorcism, final studio numbers show, $20.5 million to $20.4 million.

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    The world's biggest movie was back. Moviegoers weren't so much. 

    What happened to Avatar at the weekend box office?

    For starters, the Oscar-winning James Cameron blockbuster became the first movie to ever top $750 million domestically. 

    That's good.

    In its 3-D and IMAX 3-D rerelease, the film posted the weekend's fifth-highest reported per-screen average. 

    That's good, too.

    Everybody from prognosticators to the competition expected Avatar to gross something in the neighborhood of $15 million because it was, well, Avatar. In the end, it grossed $4 million.

    That's bad.

    So, basically, Avatar lost the expectations game.

    In the real world, the film upped its domestic haul to $753.8 million. 

    No, not bad for a film that you've owned long enough to require a good dusting. And, yes, we should all "flop" like that. 

    Other results:

    The Last Exorcism was produced for a reported $1.8 million. The horror flick made an estimated $21.3 million. It opened at No. 1. It was, to sum up, freakishly good. 

    Takers cost a reported $32 million. The heist flick made $21 million. It just missed No. 1. It was, to sum up, surprisingly strong. 

    More than half of Takers' audience was young women. So, no, Chris Brown was not a chick repellant.

    • Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love ($7 million) hasn't done anything flashy. But after three weekends of hanging in there, it has matched its reported $60 million budget.

    In its second weekend, Jennfer Aniston's The Switch ($4.7 million; $16.5 million overall) didn't take a dive, but it didn't climb, either.

    Inception ($5.1 million) topped $270 million.

    Toy Story 3 ($1.1 million), the No. 1 hit of the summer and of the year, crossed $1 billion worldwide. It's the first animated film to do so.

    Here lies the $60 million Scott Pilgrim ($2.5 million; $26.1 million overall), out of the Top 10 after two weekends, and misunderstood until its inevitable rebirth on Blu-Ray and other formats that haven't been invented yet.

    Here's a complete look at the weekend's top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

    1. The Last Exorcism, $21.3 million
    2. Takers, $21 million
    3. The Expendables, $9.5 million
    4. Eat Pray Love, $7 million
    5. The Other Guys, $6.6 million
    6. Vampires Suck, $5.3 million
    7. Inception, $5.1 million
    8. Nanny McPhee Returns, $4.7 million
    9. The Switch, $4.66 million
    10. Piranha 3D, $4.3 million

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    Photos: Totally New Releases.

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