Avatar stayed top in North America for the fourth weekend in a row with an estimated $48.5m haul through Fox that lifted the running total to $429m.

Combined with an extraordinary international run that saw James Cameron’s sci-fi opera hold on to the overseas crown on $143m for $906.2m, the film stands at $1.331bn worldwide.

It ranks as the seventh biggest North American release and the second biggest global and international release behind Cameron and Fox’s Titanic.

The last film to rule the domestic charts for four consecutive weekends was Warner Bros’ The Dark Knightin the summer of 2008. On that note, Fox sources said they expected to cross the Batman sequel’s $533m domestic total.

Warner Bros’ Sherlock Holmes held on to second place on $16.6m for $165.2m after three weekends, and Fox’s Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel remained in third place on $16.3m for $178.2m after the same amount of time.

Lionsgate’s well reviewed vampire horror Daybreakers starring Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke launched in fourth place on $15m. Universal’s romantic comedy Leap Year, which was directed by Anand Tucker and pairs Amy Adams with Matthew Goode, did not fare so well, opening in fifth place on $9.2m.

TWC/Dimension’s Michael Cera comedy Youth In Revolt opened in ninth place on $7m. Meanwhile Warner Bros’ The Blind Side continued its excellent run, adding $7.8m for $219.2m in the eighth weekend to rank seventh.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Warner Bros’ action adventure The Book Of Eli from Albert and Allen Hughes starring Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman, and Lionsgate’s action comedyThe Spy Next Door with Jackie Chan.

Estimated Top 10 North America Jan 8-10 2010
 Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (1) Avatar (Fox) Fox Int’l $48.5m $429m

2 (2) Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros) WBPI $16.6m $165.2m

3 (3) Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) Fox Int’l $16.3m $178.2m

4 (-) Daybreakers (Lionsgate) Mandate Int’l $15m –

5 (4) It’s Complicated (Universal) UPI $11m $76.4m

6 (-) Leap Year (Universal) UPI/Spyglass $9.2m –

7 (5) The Blind Side (Warner Bros) WBPI $7.8m $219.2m

8 (6) Up In The Air (Paramount) PPI $7.1m $54.7m

9 (-) Youth In Revolt (TWC/Dimension) TWC Int’l $7m –

10 (7) The Princess And The Frog (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $4.7m $92.6m