'Avatar' could top overseas record today

7:41 AM PST 01/23/2010 by Frank Segers, AP

Only $69 million behind "Titanic" going into weekend

James Cameron's "Avatar" is likely today to eclipse the foreign boxoffice record set 13 years ago by James Cameron's "Titanic."

"We expect 'Avatar' to pass 'Titanic' at the international box office (on Saturday)," predicted Craig Dehmel, Fox International's senior vp of sales and strategic planning. Distributor 20th Century Fox won't report Friday and Saturday gross numbers until Sunday morning.

Through Thursday, "Avatar" amassed total foreign earnings of $1.173 billion, just $69 million shy of "Titanic's" foreign record of $1.242 billion. With the former grossing at least $20 million daily overseas on the slowest days, weekend action is almost certain to propel "Avatar" ahead of "Titanic's" foreign record today.

Foreign earnings are driving the "Avatar" phenomenon with nearly 70% of its worldwide boxoffice of $1.690 billion coming from offshore playoff.

Worldwide, "Avatar" as of Thursday still had $153 million to go to beat "Titanic's" record global boxoffice take of $1.843 billion.
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