Fox and James Cameron's 3D epic enters box office

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Avatar” grossed $3.5 million in midnight runs from approximately 2,000 locations in a strong start for James Cameron’s sweeping 3D sci-fi fantasy.

Friday matinees are also selling out.

Many of the midnight runs were in 3D locations.

“Avatar” has a strong shot at securing the best December bow of all time. Current record holder is Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend,” which posted an opening weekend gross of $77.2 million. That film grossed roughly $30.6 million on its first Friday, including $1.7 million in midnight grosses from roughly 1,100 theaters.

“Avatar” also is expected to do big business in its day and date international launch, having already scored impressive first-day launches in a number of territories, including France.

“Avatar” faces the challenge of being an original title, versus a franchise sequel.

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