Cameron’s Avatar Conquers the World

James Cameron’s Avatar easily won the weekend box office crowd with a $77 million take, a number hampered somewhat by severe weather on the East Coast that curtailed movie going.

The stereoscopic 3-D film, which Cameron made with a mix of motion-capture, CG animation and live action, was the highest December opening for a film that’s not a sequel, remake or direct adaptation. Avatar just barely edged out 2007′s I Am Legend for that honor.

Box Office Mojo.com reports than an estimated $52 million of the domestic gross came from theaters showing the film in 3-D. The film also broke records for an IMAX release, with details to be released shortly.

Overseas, Avatar earned $159 million in 106 territories, giving it an overall opening weekend take of $236 million.

Coming in second place was Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, which added $12 million to its total in its second week of wide release. The film has totaled $44.8 million so far.

The only other major release of the weekend was the romantic comedy, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, which grossed $7 million and landed in fourth place behind another strong weekend performance for The Blind Side.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol continued to be a consistent performer, landing in seventh place with $3.4 million. That brings the CG-animated feature to a domestic total of $130 million in seven weeks of release.

Other animated and VFX-heavy films still in release include 2012, which made $2.1 million for a $159 million total; Planet 51, which made $800,000 for a total of $38.5 million; and Fantastic Mr. Fox, whose $600,000 weekend brings it to $17.4 million total.