Edge of Darkness came in second, though it's an ambiguous result: you have to go back to the mid-90s to find a mainstream Mel Gibson vehicle that opened to as little as $17 million. On the other hand, it's the guy's first role in seven years -- and in a rather nondescript film noir in the middle of January at that. I wouldn't read too much into it, though the movie's $80 million budget raises some questions. The fantasy rom-com When in Rome didn't have a lot of competition for its target audience, but had to battle terrible reviews for its okay $12 million take.
Legion took the biggest hit of the holdovers, dropping over 60% to 6th place; it may have wound up on the wrong side of the ludicrous/enjoyable divide for most people. Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes is about to eke past the $200 million mark, Alvin and the Chipmunks already has, and Nancy Meyers' It's Complicated just skated past $100 million. Those are last year's three Christmas Day releases, which appear to have been perfectly calculated to stay out of each other's way in the ensuing weeks.
The full top 10 after the jump.
1 - Avatar (Fox) - $30.00 ($9,759) - $594.47
2 - Edge of Darkness (Warner Bros.) - $17.12 ($5,584) - $17.12
3 - When in Rome (Disney) - $12.07 ($4,192) - $12.07
4 - The Tooth Fairy (Fox) - $10.00 ($2,990) - $26.11
5 - The Book of Eli (Warner Bros.) - $8.77 ($2,852) - $74.37
6 - Legion (Screen Gems) - $6.8 ($2,746) - $28.65
7 - The Lovely Bones (Dreamworks) - $4.74 ($1,795) - $38.01
8 - Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.) - $4.51 ($2,004) - $197.60
9 - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) - $4.00 ($1,584) - $209.30
10 - It's Complicated (Universal) - $3.72 ($1,775) - $104.03
Next week: bald and crazy John Travolta in From Paris With Love, and Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried in Dear John, the latest attempt to replicate the success of The Notebook.