The Avatar number aside, it's worth calling attention to the fact that the weekend's number three film (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) grossed $50 million dollars. Even considering the Christmas Day Friday, this is impressive -- and nearly unheard of. The only analogue seems to be Madagascar, which debuted in third place with $47 million over Memorial Day in 2005.

But Avatar is the star of the weekend, and deservingly so. Not only did it not see virtually no drop from last weekend's opening number -- also nearly unheard of for a non-"family" tentpole blockbuster, Christmas notwithstanding -- but it grossed nearly $60 million between Monday and Thursday, bringing its cume to $212 million. Its $75 million is the second highest second weekend of all time, behind The Dark Knight. And it faces no new competition next week, which has another holiday Friday. I don't expect a repeat of this weekend, but I wouldn't be shocked by something close.

$65 million for Sherlock Holmes is the #1 Christmas opening of all time, despite playing second fiddle to Avatar. The movie takes pains to launch a franchise, and there's been talk of a sequel for some time (Brad Pitt as Professor Moriarty?). One is now certainly forthcoming.

Up in the Air and Nine both expanded into wide release, with the former winding up in 5th place and the latter in 8th. Nine's performance does not bode well for its Oscar chances. Up in the Air may have done better this weekend without the nearly month-long roll-out, but nearly $12 million for the heady flick is still pretty good. (It's unlikely to become a Juno-like juggernaut.)

The top 10 after the jump.




1 - Avatar (Fox) - $75.00 ($21,701) - $212.27
2 - Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.) - $65.38 ($18,031) - $65.38
3 - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) - $50.20 ($13,568) - $77.05
4 - It's Complicated (Universal) - $22.11 ($7,660) - $22.11
5 - Up in the Air (Paramount) - $11.76 ($6,203) - $24.52
6 - The Blind Side (Warner Bros.) - $11.73 ($4,241) - $184.39
7 - The Princess and the Frog (Disney) - $8.68 ($2,499) - $63.36
8 - Nine (Weinstein Co.) - $5.54 ($3,926) - $5.92
9 - Did You Hear About the Morgans? (Sony) - $5.00 ($1,840) - $15.60
10 - Invictus (Warner Bros.) - $4.39 ($2,032) - $23.37

Next weekend: Absolutely nothing! Happy New Year!