Dropping 29% from last weekend to gross $48 million, Avatar is now: 1) the top grosser of 2009; 2) the best fourth weekend in history (beating the previous #1, Titanic, by $20 million); 3) if I'm not mistaken, the highest non-New-Year's January weekend of all time; 4) #7 all-time domestic, now only $170 million out of first-place; 5) #2 all-time worldwide, about half a billion out of first place. Titanic's records are in some jeopardy.

People really ought to revolutionize filmmaking more often. Apparently it pays off.

The first three films of the new year tried to sneak in this weekend too. Lionsgate's low-budget Daybreakers scored a minor victory -- precisely the kind it needed -- with $15 million in third place; an encouraging start for the smart, interesting genre flick. Leap Year, which grossed $9 million, got bad reviews and not much traction -- something this generic really needed more star power than Amy Adams could provide. And Michael Cera's Youth in Revolt was marketed like an indie and was treated accordingly (though of course not to the extent of Cera's Paper Heart); $7 million is the weakest wide release opening for a Cera vehicle, though I think someone gave up on this one along the way.

Awards note: there are three serious contenders left in play -- Avatar, The Blind Side, and Up in the Air . These are the longest-lived flicks of Oscar season. It's Complicated, though deflated in its awards chances by bad reviews ("by sucking," one could say), is holding up well too, though the results will be middling by Nancy Meyers standards.

The top 10 after the jump.


1 - Avatar (Fox) - $48.50 ($14,173) - $429.04
2 - Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.) - $16.60 ($4,581) - $165.18
3 - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) - $16.30 ($4,477) - $178.18
4 - Daybreakers (Lionsgate) - $15.00 ($5,945) - $15.00
5 - It's Complicated (Universal) - $11.00 ($3,725) - $76.37
6 - Leap Year (Universal) - $9.17 ($3,650) - $9.17
7 - The Blind Side (Warner Bros.) - $7.75 ($2,691) - $219.20
8 - Up in the Air (Paramount) - $7.10 ($3,201) - $54.70
9 - Youth in Revolt (Dimension) - $7.00 ($3,737) - $7.00
10 - The Princess and the Frog (Disney) - $4.70 ($1,794) - $92.60

Next week: Denzel Washington's The Book of Eli (which Warner Bros. has actually been pushing pretty hard recently) and Jackie Chan's The Spy Next Door.