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Shyamalan's Airbender Outperforms Expectations -- Twist

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 6, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 6, 2010 |

Just a month after celebrating the tiniest of victories in helping to minimize the box-office damage of Sex and the City 2, critics are now licking their wounds the weekend after the worst reviewed film of the year, Avatar: The Last Airbender, managed to put up a whopping $40 million over the holiday weekend, in addition to $16 million on Thursday. After five days in release, Airbender has already amassed $70 (fucking) million. By the way, that’s Shyamalan’s third biggest opening, and its five-day total is already more than his last two films made during their entire theater runs. And he did it by basing a movie on a show that few people over the age of 15 have even heard of, proving once again that kid’s don’t listen to Roger Ebert. Sadly, the little snots have given Shyamalan new life, despite having just made his worst film ever. You have to assume at least $130 million domestic, plus another $150 million internationally, all of which means: The chances of Shyamalan being able to complete the trilogy looks pretty good, as long as he can do it on a smaller budget. Wondering what the $150 million budget went into? We heard from a crew member on the set that Shyamalan had actually built a fancy-ass bar, on set, for the crew’s drinking needs. It was probably necessary after looking at the dailies.

Alas, Airbender is far from the end of Shyamalan’s career — it’s likely to be his third biggest movie to date, after The Sixth Sense and Signs. Now, the only way we can stop him is with a toothbrush shank.

Meanwhile, as expected, Twilight: Eclipse topped the box office, though it fell short of setting any box-office records (besides the record for biggest midnight opening last Tuesday). The $66 million over the Independence Day holiday was good for third biggest 4th of July weekend of all time, after Spider-man 2 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It was also a little short of its predecessor, Twilight: New Moon. Nevertheless, Eclipse has banked $161 million since it opened last week. Here’s a shocking number, though: Only 65 percent of Eclipse’s audience was female, meaning a full 35 percent were men. That’s a lot of dates, and a whole lotta poor miserable Dads taking their 12 and unders to a PG-13 movie.

Meanwhile, Toy Story 3 continues to plug away; it’s now up over $300 million and should pass Iron Man 2 as the second biggest movie of the year, behind Alice in Wonderland, by mid-week before topping Wonderland within the next two weekends. Grown Ups sadly continues to pile on the riches, too; it’s now up to $85 million after two weekends. Knight and Day rounds out the top five, nearly reaching $50 million, far short of its $117 million budget. However, it’s already added $25 million in international ticket sales and it’s yet to reach Europe or Australia. It’s gonna do just fine.

In its third week of release, Cyrus continues to perform well in limited release, entering the top ten this week in only 77 theaters; it had the third biggest per theater average of the week. Unfortunately, nearly every other independent film lost ground week to week, as many had to give up theaters so that multiplexes could feature seven screenings of Eclipse and four screenings of Airbender. Sadly, that’s not an exaggeration. It’s been a slow year for indies, so far. City Island is the biggest stateside draw, putting up $6 million, while Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s $8 million is the biggest showing for international efforts thus far. People just aren’t as fond of the Brewer’s yeast-flavored popcorn as they once were.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.