Box Office

Avatar No Titanic

Avatar may have topped weekend box-office sales, but for a film billed as a game-changer as important as the original Star Wars, its $73 million in weekend ticket sales disappointed industry expectations and failed to earn the film even a record for December sales. The snowstorm that pummeled the east coast may have been partially to blame. With news reports recommending that people stay inside, ticket sales in major cities plummeted between Friday and Saturday in a reversal of the normal trend. In the warmer south, Fox blamed the Cowboys-Saints football game for off-kilter sales numbers in Dallas and New Orleans. The film, which cost $310 million to produce and $150 million to market, may still be able to earn its keep—a co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment said that "given that women worldwide responded so strongly" to Avatar, weekend sales are "just the start."