James Cameron’s sci-fi 3D epic Avatar opened with an estimated $27 million in first-day receipts, including approximately $3.5 million from midnight showings. The film played in about 7,000 screens at 3,452 sites (including 2,038 3D sites / 179 IMAX locations). 3D screenings accounted for 58% of the total gross.
Despite a winter storm in the East, Avatar could potentially still pull in around $80-85 million for the weekend, which would make it the largest grossing December opening of all-time. In terms of December opening days, Avatar sits at #3 all-time behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($34.5M) and I Am Legend ($30.1M).
Avatar is of course Cameron’s first commercial release since the 1997 blockbuster Titanic. That film’s opening day pulled in $8.7 million (about $14 million when adjusted for inflation), but it went on and on and on en route to a Domestic record $600.8 million. (Historically, December movies have strong legs so Avatar should continue to pull in audiences throughout its run.)
Source: Box Office Mojo