Avatar Soars to the Top Worldwide

Avatar easily held onto to its box office crown in the first weekend of the New Year, kicking off 2010 by carrying on the record-setting pace set last year.

The overall box office take was up 8 percent over last year, hitting a record total $10.6 billion. Admissions were up about 4 percent to 1.41 billion, states The Hollywood Reporter.

The James Cameron film took in $68.3 million in the three-day New Year’s holiday weekend, bringing its domestic total to a whopping $352 million in just 17 days of release. The film is on track to become the highest-grossing film released in 2009, having only the $402 million earned by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen still to top.

Avatar‘s overseas gross has been just as impressive, taking in $666.7 million and bringing the film’s worldwide total to just over $1 billion so far. That makes it easily the globe’s top-grossing film of the year, elevating it to the fourth all-time money-maker behind only Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and, of course, Titanic.

The news also was good for the rest of the films in release, with Sherlock Holmes grossing $38 million over the weekend for a domestic total of $140 million, while Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel was just behind it with $36 million for the weekend and a $157 million domestic total.

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog finished the weekend in seventh place with $10 million, bringing its total to $86 million.

Other animated films still in release include Disney’s A Christmas Carol, which grossed $540,000 for the weekend to bring its total to $137 million. The movie has grossed $118 million overseas for a global total to date of $255 million.

Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox grossed about $482,000 in its eighth weekend of release to bring its domestic total to $19.1 million. Its international take to date is $2.4 million for a total of about $21.6 million.