We gotta say, this whole Avatar experience has been pretty unsettling: We spent the last few months pitying poor deluded James Cameron for thinking his half a billion dollar movie about goofy blue aliens would blow people’s minds, and then the last few weeks finding out that, yep, it’s totally blowing people’s minds. We’ve made the necessary adjustments, though, and with Avatar hitting theaters today with a full head of steam — Edelstein and most other critics love it; Armond White auspiciously hated it — we’ve accepted the notion that James Cameron is winning. But there’s one question left, and it’s a big one: How much money will Avatar make this weekend?
Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst with Exhibitor Relations Co. — and the guy trying to take food off Paul Dergarabedian’s family’s dinner table, apparently — is calling it at $75 million, roughly half of New Moon’s take from earlier this year. Don’t worry, Dergarabedian got to weigh in, too! He’s a little more optimistic, calling it between $85 and $100 million (very clever, hedging your bets with an estimate range; there’s a reason he’s the best in the biz). Despite Cameron braving a sit-down with Kathie Lee Gifford, advance sales are as male-centric as feared: 68 percent of the buyers at Fandango and 78 percent at MovieTickets.com are dudes. That’s a bit of a relief. At least women still think those blue aliens look goofy.
"Avatar" Box Office Seen Topping $75 Million in Debut [Reuters]