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Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Avatar

WETA/ 20th Century Fox

James Cameron's blue man group's got nothing on Edward Cullen.

 Avatar raked in a solid if not spectacular $3 million in midnight screenings, according to preliminary estimates. That's far short of the "absolultely freakish" record $26.3 million generated by New Moon's witching-hour debut last month.

But like Titanic, which started off just as slow but sailed into the record books as the highest grossing film of all time, the jury's still way out for Cameron's budget-bursting follow-up.

Unspooling in more than 3,400 theaters in both 3-D and 2-D formats with a running time of almost two hours and 40 minutes and garnering near universal rave reviews, Avatar is expected to rake in upwards of $75 million to $80 million its opening weekend, according to early estimates.

Most prognosticators expect it to make a return on its eye-popping budget of $250 million-plus, but no one is quite sure where it will land on the all-time box-office list.

This much we know...it's got $247 million to go.


Avatar's not even out yet, and it's been nominted for Best Picture. Check out other noms our 2010 Golden Globes: Notable Nominees gallery.