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Denzel Washington Book of Eli.jpg

And Then God Said, "My Bad, James Cameron, You Were Here First"

By William Goss | Box Office Round-Ups | January 18, 2010 |

By William Goss | Box Office Round-Ups | January 18, 2010 |

You know, when that Martin Luther King fella was fighting for equal rights, I’m not sure that he had the foresight to hope that blue-hued aliens would be welcomed by the masses. Like it or not, they have, as Avatar took yet another weekend with $54.6 million over the four-day stretch and reached half a billion dollars total in the States alone, poised now to take over second-place as the all-time box-office leader, surpassing The Dark Knight by next week.

There was no shortage of black leaders, though, as Denzel Washington’s The Book of Eli opened well in second place with $38 million. It’s the actor’s best opening since 2007’s American Gangster — without the help of Russell Crowe, I might add — and it’s already outgrossed the entire theatrical run of the Hughes Brothers’ last film, 2001’s From Hell (although few films did well in the immediate wake of 9/11 — scratch that, Denzel’s Training Day did).

Despite the bad buzz and screener leaks, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lovely Bones placed surprisingly well with $20.5 million. Despite being awful, The Squeakquel clung on in fourth place with $15 million and bested Jackie Chan’s family-friendly outing, The Spy Next Door, which opened in fifth to $13 million. That’s Chan’s worst opening since 2004’s Around the World in 80 Days, with $13 million; expect him to reunite with Chris Tucker or Owen Wilson any day now.

Sherlock Holmes took sixth place with $11.7 million ($180 million overall), It’s Complicated stuck around in seventh with $9.1 million, Leap Year held on right behind it with $6.9 million, Up in the Air wound up ninth with $6.6 million, and The Blind Side wrapped up the top ten with $6.5 million. On a side note, I think it’s a minor shame that Daybreakers has already slipped out of the top ten — it’s better than much other genre fare that gets dumped on us (see: next weekend’s laughable-looking Legion), a bit brainier than it should be and certainly bloody enough to please those looking for decent action-horror. After all, didn’t MLK Jr. dream that one day we might embrace vampires that didn’t sparkle?

Best Foreign-Language Films of 2009 | Pajiba After Dark 1/18/10