Box-office preview: 'Avatar' and 'Edge of Darkness' battle for No. 1 | EW.com

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Box-office preview: 'Avatar' and 'Edge of Darkness' battle for No. 1

This weekend will mark Avatar’s seventh weekend in theaters. In that time it’s become the highest-grossing film of all time, crossing Titanic’s worldwide gross of $1.843 billion and likely to cross the $2 billion mark this weekend. With only one more record left to cross – Titanic’s domestic gross of $600 million (Avatar is likely to pass that milestone by mid-week) – this may be the first weekend that another film could take the top spot at the box office. And who has a shot at taking over the new title: none other than Mel Gibson, the actor who three years ago was as close to untouchable in Hollywood as they came. Oh, how times have changed. Give the 53-year old veteran an R-rated revenge drama and all seems to be forgiven. Tracking is doing well with older men, and the film is likely to debut in the mid-$20 million range, a number far below his 1996 film Ransom but better than his 2002 showing of We Were Soldiers. Also battling for some cash this frame is When in Rome, the romantic comedy starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. Read on for my predictions.

1. Avatar: $27 million
I’m still convinced this film has another weekend in the top spot. Between the elevated ticket prices from 3-D sales, which are accounting for even more than 80 percent of the weekend grosses as the theaters open up a bit, and the must-see factor which still must be around considering the scant drops each weekend, this movie is constantly over-performing. Perhaps it will drop more than the 20 percent, which has been the norm, but I don’t predict it will be by much.

2. Edge of Darkness: $24 million
Yes, older men want to see this movie, but older men are not box-office drivers. The reviews have been kind, but in order to get older men to the theaters, you’ve got to get the older women in, and I’m not sure that many are inclined to see a brutal murder scene followed by a desperate man on a rampage.

3. When in Rome: $8 million
Disney is promoting this romantic comedy as “by the studio that brought you The Proposal,” but there’s no way anyone’s going to mistake Kristen Bell for Sandra Bullock. Star power matters in romantic comedies, and Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel don’t seem like big enough names to carry a film like this. The weak reviews aren’t going to help, which is a shame because a solid chick flick could do some business in theaters right now.

4. Legion: $7 million
This Screen Gems film about winged angels may have been the leader of the holdovers last frame, but with awful exit polls I predict at least a 60 percent drop this weekend.

5. The Tooth Fairy: $6 million
Dwayne Johnson’s latest didn’t connect with the family audience as they usually do. It didn’t help that the reviews for his role as the mean hockey player forced into the role of Tooth Fairy didn’t sing. I would guess the film drops 55 percent this weekend.

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