'Dear John' dethrones box office king 'Avatar'

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The Independent Culture

Romantic tearjerker "Dear John" overcame scathing reviews to end "Avatar's" seven-week reign at the top of the North American box office this weekend, estimated figures showed Sunday.

The film, an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel about a soldier who falls in love with a college student, stormed to an impressive 32.4 million dollars on its debut, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

The movie, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, has received largely negative reviews but proved too strong for science-fiction epic "Avatar," the highest-grossing film in history with more than two billion dollars worldwide.

James Cameron's film, which last week scooped nine nominations for next month's Oscars, earned another 23.6 million dollars to add to its record-breaking haul.

Action film "From Paris With Love," starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, opened in third spot with a disappointing 8.1 million dollars.

In fourth spot was revenge thriller, "Edge of Darkness", featuring Mel Gibson in his first major screen role since 2002.

The film about a hard-bitten Boston cop hunting his daughter's killers earned seven million dollars in its second weekend.

Dwayne Johnson comedy "The Tooth Fairy," fell to fifth place in its second week of showing, with 6.5 million dollars in box office receipts, with 34.3 million dollars in total.

Romantic comedy "When in Rome," starring Kristen Bell as a New Yorker seeking love in the Eternal City was sixth with 5.5 million dollars.

Denzel Washington's "Book of Eli," an action movie set in a post-apocalyptic world took in 4.8 million dollars for seventh place and 82.2 million for it's four-week run.

In eighth spot was "Crazy Heart" the low budget drama about a washed up country singer struggling to rebuild his career starring Jeff Bridges in the Oscar-nominated lead role. Bridges is regarded as the odds on favorite to scoop his first Academy Award for the performance. "Crazy Heart" earned 3.6 million dollars.

In ninth spot was another post-apocalyptic thriller "Legion," with 3.4 million dollars while the top 10 was rounded out by "Sherlock Holmes" with 2.6 million dollars.

The high-octane take on the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary London detective, played by Robert Downey Junior, has taken 201.6 million dollars in seven weeks.