The Nicholas Sparks romance Dear John usurped Avatar for the first time in eight weeks as Screen Gem’s romance opened top on an estimated $32.4m.

Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried star in Dear John, which was directed by Lasse hallstrom.

Fox’s juggernaut Avatar had to settle for second place, but nobody at the studio will be unduly bothered by this. The film grossed a further $23.6m for a stunning $630.1m running total.

EuropacCorp’s thriller From Paris With Love produced by Luc Besson and starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers opened third through Lionsgate. Pierre Morel directed, as he did on the global hit Taken, and the film took $8.1m.

The Mel Gibson thriller Edge Of Darkness fell two places to fourth in its second weekend and added $7m for a lacklustre $29.1m, while Fox’s Tooth Fairy ranks fifth on a similarly unflattering $34.3m after three weekends.

Fox Seachlight’s Crazy Heart, starring Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Jeff Bridges, leapt six places to eighth in its eighth weekend as $3.7m from 819 theatres raised the tally to $11.2m.

Oscilloscope released Henrik Ruben Genz’s Danish noir Terribly Happy on one screen at the Angelika in New York and reported a $13,000 three-day gross.

Next weekend’s wide releases include Fox’s fantasy adventure Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief starring Uma Thurman and Pierce Brosnan; Warner Bros’ romantic comedy Valentine’s Day with Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Brad Cooper; and Universal’s long gestating horror tale The Wolfman with Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt.

Estimated Top 10 North America Feb 5-7 2010


Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Dear John (Screen Gems) Lionsgate $32.4m –

2 (1) Avatar(Fox) Fox Int’l $23.6m $630.1m

3 (-) From Paris With Love(Lionsgate) EuropaCorp $8.1m –

4 (2) Edge Of Darkness(Warner Bros) GK Films $7m $29.1m

5 (4) Tooth Fairy (Fox) Fox Int’l $6.5m $34.3m

6 (3) When In Rome (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $5.5m $20.9m

7 (5) The Book Of Eli(Warner Bros) Summit Int’l/SPRI $4.8m $82.2m

8 (14) Crazy Heart (Fox Searchlight) SPRI $3.7m $11.2m

9 (6) Legion(Screen Gems) $3.4m $34.7m

10 (8) Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros) WBPI $2.6m $201.6m