Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Avatar

WETA/ 20th Century Fox

It looks like Avatar's going to be all right. So long as it doesn't turn into New Moon

Hollywood's most expensive movie ever launched with a reported $73 million Friday-Sunday that fell short of 2009's opening-weekend record, but, with awards season and buzz primed to fuel weeks of ticket sales, set the James Cameron space epic on a course to potentially become one of Hollywood's top money-makers of all time.

Elsewhere, if the question was Did You Hear About the Morgans?, the box-office answer was no. 

Running through the standings:

Avatar's success may be determined, per Exhibitor Relations' Jeff Bock, over the next several days. If it keeps making money mid-week, if it stands down Sherlock Holmes next weekend, Bock said, it may be on its way to $300 million, a domestic take that would put it, more or less, among Hollywood's top 30 films of all-time.

Here's why it would be bad for Avatar to play out like New Moon: New Moon made more than half of its money in its first, crazy, record-setting 72 hours. If Avatar does that now—if it flames out fast—it's sunk like Titanic, the maritime disaster.

Among this year's openers, Avatar's weekend ranks as the sixth-biggest, behind Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and, at No. 1, New Moon, which broke the bank with nearly $143 million.

From the department of unfair comparisons, here's a look at Avatar versus Titanic, the movie: Avatar bowed on Friday with $27 million in 3D- and IMAX-boosted ticket sales; back in 1997, Titanic bowed with $8.7 million in 2D ticket sales, the equivalent of $14 million in today's sky-high prices, per Box Office Mojo.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? was a non-factor on Friday. with the panned Hugh Grant-Sarah Jessica Parker comedy putting up a meager $2.4 million opening day.

Stay tuned for the complete Top 10 rankings.


Avatar's been nominted for Best Picture. Check out other noms our 2010 Golden Globes: Notable Nominees gallery

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