`Avatar` blue yields billion dollars in box-office gold
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar" surged to a box office haul of more than one billion dollars globally on Sunday, faster than any other movie in history, an industry tracker reported.
Aided by consecutive holiday weekends and pricey 3-D tickets, total domestic sales for the science fiction epic reached 352 million dollars and an eye-popping 670 million internationally, according to estimated figures by Exhibitor Relations.
The astronomical performance since the movie`s debut 17 days ago has already sealed its reputation as one of the most impressive box office performers of all time.
"It was the fastest ever to the one-billion-dollar mark," with "Avatar" now the third biggest grossing film ever, behind "Titanic" (1997) and "The Return of the King" (2003), the final movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, box office analyst Chad Hartigan of Exhibitor Relations told AFP.
"Avatar" tells the story of paralyzed war veteran Jake, who is sent on a mission from Earth to the planet Pandora, where he falls in love with a blue humanoid named Neytiri of the alien Na`vi race.
Its New Year`s weekend ticket sales of 68.3 million dollars easily set a domestic record for the biggest-ever third weekend for a film, while worldwide sales of 66.4 million for "Avatar" at IMAX also broke the record for the mega-screen format, according to Hollywood.com.
"It was expected to do well, but not this well,` Hartigan said.
Optimistic estimates hovered around 350 million domestically over its total run. "But to have that already in 17 days is ridiculous," Hartigan added.
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