Box Office: Avatar’s Audience Continues to be Legion in Week 6

The Titanic is about to sink again — this time from the list of all-time box office champs. After taking in $1.842 billion in worldwide receipts back in the glory days of 1997, James Cameron’s “Titanic” is poised to be easily overtaken by Cameron’s follow-up film, “Avatar”, which as of this weekend is just six million shy of surpassing “Titanic’s” take, according to studio estimates. Needless to say, “Avatar” will become the highest grossing movie of all time by mid-week, if not sooner. In its sixth week of release, the sci-fi epic continues to show no signs of weakness, claiming the top spot at the box office for six consecutive weeks with another enviable $36 million take. The next milestone for “Avatar” after next week? Surpassing “Titanic’s” domestic box office total, which still stands at $600 million. “Avatar” is now at $552, and counting.

As for the rest of the box office, claiming that any of the three new studio releases came even close to toppling the king would be ridiculous. Paul Bettany’s first time out as an action hero did come the closest, as the horror-actioner “Legion” topped the newcomers, landing at #2 with $18 million. That’s not an altogether bad take, considering that the film was made for a moderate $26 million budget. Even if the movie falters in its second week, which seems likely, it should have relatively few problems recouping its cost and turning a profit once it lands on DVD and cable. Can you say, sequel? The question it, will it be theatrical, or direct-to-DVD?

The Rock’s family comedy “The Tooth Fairy” couldn’t quite beat out Denzel Washington’s “Book of Eli”, which held onto the third spot in its second week of release, for a two-week total of $62 million. The post-apocalyptic film remains one of Washington’s better performing films in a while, with flops like “The Taking of Pelham 123” and “Deja Vu” to his credit. “The Tooth Fairy”, meanwhile, took $14.5 million in its debut, good enough for fourth place and ahead of the Harrison Ford medical drama “Extraordinary Measures”, which just barely beat out the singing chipmunks movie for lowly seventh place. “Fairy” continues The Rock’s somewhat successful attempts at balancing an action movie career alongside a family friendly action-adventure one.

Notables: While Bettany’s mainstream studio film “Legion” opened in 2,476 screens to the tune of $18.2 million, his indie bio pic “Creation” opened in 7 screens for a sum total of $52,000. The per-screen average for the two films were almost identical at around $7,000 per. The faith-based teen drama “To Save a Life” continues a winning stream of low-budget Christian-themed films (“Life” was made for half a million) doing well at the box office thanks to shrewd marketing to its mostly ignored base. The film opened in 441 theaters, good enough for $1.5 million in its debut.

Box Office Top 10 (via):

.1 Avatar $36,000,000 $552,797,000 6
.2 Legion (2010) $18,200,000 $18,200,000 1
.3 The Book of Eli $17,000,000 $62,003,000 2
.4 The Tooth Fairy $14,500,000 $14,500,000 1
.5 The Lovely Bones $8,800,000 $31,624,000 7
.6 Sherlock Holmes $7,115,000 $191,564,000 5
.7 Extraordinary Measures $7,000,000 $7,000,000 1
.8 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel $6,500,000 $204,237,000 5
.9 It’s Complicated $6,190,000 $98,650,000 5
.10 The Spy Next Door $4,750,000 $18,710,000 2