Newly crowned Golden Globe champ Avatar notched an impressive estimated Martin Luther King Monday Take of $11m en route to a $54.4M 4 Day MLK Weekend Total that continues to shatter box office records. Perhaps most mind-boggling of all is that Avatar on its fifth weekend with $54.4M bested the previous best MLK weekend opening weekend of $46M by Cloverfield by a smooth $8m. And with the foreign total at $1.6B Titanic’s record of $1.8B is well within sight — as is the domestic record of $600M. Water cooler discussion will soon turn to adjusted gross totals taking into account ticket inflation in favor of Avatar. (Question: Should the impact of 1m estimated illegal downloads of Avatar also be taken into consideration when making the adjustment?)

Avatar has reached $500m in just 32 days, another record.  The second place finisher in this category is the Dark Knight, which reached $500m in 45 days.  Titanic took 98 days to reach $500m and, perhaps more telling, 50 days to reach $500m in an “adjusted for inflation” calculation.

On the foreign side, Avatar generated $128.5M, down a modest 15% from the previous weekend. The figure represented a record setting debut of $15.2m in Italy, it’s final market.  China was the biggest foreign market for the weekend with $17.9m, and its cum total of $75.6m to date in China makes it the number one all time box office hit in that market.  Ditto South Korea, where it has tallied $70.7M.  The biggest overseas gross for Avatar thus far is France, with $115.3m.

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