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'Avatar' regains lead; wins weekend for fifth time in a row

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Denzel Washington’s The Book of Eli couldn’t hold its early Friday lead, dropping into second place after Saturday’s box office results filtered in. Estimates for the weekend put Avatar back on top for the fifth week in a row with a 3-day take of $41.3 million, off only 18% from last weekend. The film’s domestic take now stands at $491 million. Eli, from The Hughes Bros., took the number two spot with $31.6 million, giving the apocalyptic drama a healthy debut and a welcome return for the directing team. Paramount’s decision to delay its wide release of The Lovely Bones to this weekend seems to be paying off. The film connected with teenage girls as the marketing gurus had predicted and earned $17.1 million for a respectable third place finish. Position four went to Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel which grossed another $11.5 million, putting its total domestic gross at $192.6 million. Sherlock Holmes nabbed the fifth spot with $9.8 million, putting its total at $180 million. The full Martin Luther King holiday report will be filed here tomorrow. Check back then.

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