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'Avatar' continues to dominate the box office with $13.3 mil on Friday

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A trio of new releases failed to topple James Cameron’s Avatar, which claimed the top spot at the box office for the fourth weekend in a row. The 3-D epic earned $13.3 million on Friday, bringing its domestic total to a staggering $393.8 million, according to early estimates. By the end of Saturday, Avatar should pass Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which grossed $402.1 million, to become the highest grossing film released in 2009. Additionally, Avatar is likely to soar by Spider-Man on Saturday to become the eighth-highest grossing film of all time domestically.

Second place went to the new Ethan Hawke vampire flick Daybreakers, which drained $5.9 million on Friday. Right behind it was Sherlock Holmes, dropping 66 percent for $5.1 million in its third week. The action film’s domestic take has reached $153.7 million, which indicates, through deductive reasoning, that we should be seeing more of Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes in the years to come. In fourth place was another holdover, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which earned $3.6 million to bring its cumulative gross to $165.4 million.

The weekend’s two other new releases, the Ireland-set romantic comedy Leap Year and the Michael Cera teen comedy Youth in Revolt, will not be remembered for their box-office prowess. The former grossed $3.3 million for fifth place, while the latter picked up $2.7 million for seventh place. Friday’s figures are below, and check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. Avatar — $13.3 mil

2. Daybreakers — $5.9 mil

3. Sherlock Holmes — $5.1 mil

4. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel — $3.6 mil

5. Leap Year — $3.3 mil

SUNDAY UPDATE: Avatar is No. 1 (again!) with $48.5 million