Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily has early estimates for yesterday’s Christmas Day box office and it looks like there’s a neck and neck battle between Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, which is reporting an estimated $25 million for its opening day, and James Cameron’s Avatar which took slightly less with $24 million on its second Friday. Based on those numbers and the normal Christmas weekend bump (with many people being off school and work on Monday), we might see the first weekend ever where two movies gross over $70 million. (The closest time in recent memory was when The Day After Tomorrow opened over Memorial Day against the second weekend of Shrek 2, but the former ended up with less than $70 million over the three-day weekend.) We’ll give a slight advantage to Avatar to win the weekend, because it is a returning movie and will slightly be less frontloaded to Friday than the new movie.
The two movies individually and collectively have broken every Christmas Day box office record though. Before yesterday, Meet the Fockers held the record for the highest Christmas Day gross ever with $19.5 million while last year’s Marley & Me held the record for the biggest Christmas Day opening with $14.4 million.
Meanwhile, Fox’s other movie Alvin and the Chipmunk: the Squeakquel added $12 million Friday, shooting to make in the $45 million range for the weekend, and the Nancy Meyers romantic comedy It’s Complicated opened with an estimated $7.5 million pointing to a weekend of between $23 and 25 million. (UPDATE: ERC reports that “Alvin” is closer to $14 million for Friday, while “Complicated” is at 7.1)
Check back tomorrow for the full weekend box office report but with roughly $200 million being made between just four movies, we could very well be seeing a new record set for the Top 10 if these numbers stick.