UPDATE: Coming Soon updated their numbers again, and as it turns out, 20th Century Fox's official estimate has Avatar falling just short of I Am Legend's record after all. Still, it's $4 million more than they were estimating, so the happiness has probably not worn off.

When the studio box office estimates came out yesterday, the word on Avatar was that it had a strong $73 million opening, but not enough to break the record for December openings. Now Coming Soon has gotten their hands on the actual Sunday figures, and with the film having experienced just a 3% drop in attendance between Saturday and Sunday, the record is broken after all.

Avatar apparently made $77.3 million, just squeezing past I Am Legend's December opening record of $77.2 million. Not only that, but it was the biggest-ever weekend haul from IMAX screens, with $9.5 million of that cash coming from the 178 IMAX screens where it was playing.

Given that the snow had cleared along the East Coast by Sunday, I had a hunch that the day would go better than most Sundays (hey, I bought a ticket). Who knows what this means for the weeks to come-- you can read both box office guru's Scott Gwin's opinion and mine on the matter-- but it's definitely good news for Fox execs, who got the December opening record they likely wanted all along.

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