Avatar, the much expected film from director James Cameron, grossed $3.54 million at the box office on midnight shows, according to 20th Century Fox today.

The figure is shy despite the films' built expectations, including that it is considered the highest-profile movie of 2009.

In comparison, The Twilight Saga: New Moon earned $26.3 million on midnight screenings and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, totaled $22.2 million. Both are the top earning movies of all time on midnight shows and are also known for their big fan base.

The sci-fi movie Avatar has a running time of more than 2 1/2 hours. It stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver.