Sunday, February 7, 2010

'Avatar' dethroned at box office by 'Dear John'

The new romantic drama "Dear John" unexpectedly ended the seven-week reign of "Avatar" at the weekend box office in North America on Sunday, pulling in large numbers of young female moviegoers.

"Dear John" grossed an estimated $32.4 million in the three-day period since opening Friday, said distributor Screen Gems, the low-budget division of Sony Corp.

It had hoped for an opening of about $20 million on a weekend when many Americans forsake movies to watch the Super Bowl, traditionally the year's most-watched television broadcast. The football championship starts around 6:25 pm (2325 GMT) in Miami.

"Dear John" stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Siegfried as lovers whose romance is curtailed by the Sept. 11 attacks. It is directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom and based on "The Notebook," a novel by Nicholas Sparks.

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