Shawn Levy over at The Oregonian is trying hard to make the best out of the fact that the by-all-accounts awful Valentine's Day did monster business over President's Day -- and, yes, Valentine's Day. Levy arrives at the wistful notion that "[b]uying a movie ticket is a leap of faith" -- which he uses both to buttress the superiority of the critical perspective (the critics have seen the film; when they handed over the cash, the ticketbuyers haven't), and subtly deflect the criticism that he's condescending -- taking a "leap of faith," after all, seems beyond reproach.

Yet, as Levy himself acknowledges, Valentine's Day did so well at least partially because New Line had the staggeringly brilliant idea to release it on or around Valentine's Day. (The estimates have Sunday the 14th as the best day for the movie by a wide margin.) This is a little depressing, from the American-public-as-cattle point of view. Of course, the star-studded cast likely also had something to do with the movie's success. In any case, $66 million, beating the previous President's Day record holder, Ghost Rider, by $14 million.

The weekend's other debuts fared okay. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief opened to $39 million over four days -- Lemony Snicket money, nothing spectacular, but not too bad for a new, off-brand kid fantasy franchise (especially one as bland as Percy turned out to be). It ended up in a virtual tie with The Wolfman, Joe Johnston's expensive horror flick. There, $36 million has to be considered middling; buzz on The Wolfman dropped like a rock once people actually started seeing the flick last week.

The Avatar tally is up to $661 million. Which is, y'know, pretty good.

The full 4-day top 10 after the jump.