Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese continue to lure movie-goers to "Shutter Island," while James Cameron's "Avatar" has surpassed $700 million domestically.
The Paramount Pictures psychological thriller remained the No. 1 film for a second-straight weekend with $22.2 million, raising its 10-day total to $75.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
"Shutter Island" stars DiCaprio as a U.S. marshal caught in a tangle of delusions and paranoia while investigating the disappearance of a murderess at a remote hospital for the criminally insane.
"It is one of those movies that people, when they walk out of, they want to talk to somebody about," said Rob Moore, Paramount vice chairman. "When you have a movie that engages people and they want to talk about, want to debate, want to think about it, it certainly keeps you in front of mind for people."
James Cameron's science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" became the first movie ever to top the $700 million mark domestically. With a $14 million weekend, the 20th Century Fox release now is at $706.9 million domestically and $2.5 billion worldwide.
Some of that business comes from people seeing "Avatar" multiple times, but "I do believe first-time viewers are still discovering this movie," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox. "We're getting people who don't go to movies often or never go to the movies. That's how special this movie is."
Debuting in second-place with $18.6 million was the Warner Bros. police romp "Cop Out," starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Opening in third was Overture Films' horror tale "The Crazies" with $16.5 million.
"Cop Out" exceeded the studio's revenue expectations and did well despite storms on the East Coast that kept some people at home, said Dan Fellman, Warner's head of distribution.
"We lost some money with the weather, but we certainly had a strong weekend," Fellman said.
"The Crazies" is a remake of George Romero's 1970s fright flick about a small town hit with an epidemic of insanity.
Scary movies typically vanish quickly because most horror fans rush out to see them over opening weekend. "The Crazies" earned better reviews than the average horror film, and its revenues on Saturday went up over Friday's opening-day numbers, often a sign that a movie might stick around longer at theaters.
"For a horror film, it looks like we've got a great run," said Kyle Davies, head of distribution for Overture.
With a $9.5 million weekend, the Warner Bros. romance "Valentine's Day" became the first movie released in 2010 to top the $100 million mark.
The Academy Awards are coming next Sunday, but the usual Oscar bounce for key nominees has been tough to assess this season. Some nominees, such as best-picture contenders "The Hurt Locker" and "Inglourious Basterds," already had run their course at theaters before the nominations.
A few — including best-picture contender "The Blind Side" and "Crazy Heart," with a best-actor nomination for Jeff Bridges — have hung on at the box office partly because of the awards attention.
For "Avatar," which is tied with "The Hurt Locker" with a leading nine nominations, the Oscars were simply one more reason for people to catch what already had been a runaway box-office sensation.
"I think 'Avatar' would have hit $700 million with or without the Oscar nominations," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "But it can't hurt. There's got to be some part of the audience out there that was on the fence and finally decided to see it because of all these Oscar nominations."