It was a Christmas to remember for movie studios as the all-time weekend box office record fell behind the might of James Cameron’s Avatar, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and the encore performance of those high-pitched Chipmunks based on early estimates.
Avatar led the way for its second straight weekend win with a cool $75 million from Friday through Sunday, a mere 3% drop from its opening weekend and a domestic tally of $280 million and counting. Factor in overseas business and Avatar is already at $617.3 million with $800 million to $1 billion not out of the question.
Another Fox entry, Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel, beat the original’s bow of $44 million by opening to $50.2 million and third place. A third film in the franchise is expected to be announced barring a catastrophic collapse heading into New Years.
Warner Bros. was hoping Sherlock Holmes could dethrone Avatar but will gladly take the $65.4 million opening and second place, a Christmas weekend record. The previous record-holder was Meet the Fockers with $46.2 million.
Other films opening on Christmas weekend or seeing a first wide expansion include It’s Complicated with $22.1 million, Up in the Air with $11.8 million, and Nine with $5.5 million.
The $280 million all films took in over the Christmas weekend bests the previous $260 million record set the weekend Warner’s The Dark Knight bowed. For that record to fall is impressive in and of itself. To happen outside the summer frame was previously unimaginable.