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It is the beginning of a new month and there's lots of pressure on the box office to keep up pace with last year. There was only one wide release this time last year, Watchmen, but it opened with more than $55 million, which at the time was the third best March opening ever. This time around Alice in Wonderland is expecting to top that figure. In fact, a lot think it will set the March opening record.

Tim Burton directing an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland makes so much sense, especially after he made Charlie and the Chocolate Factory back in 2005. His visual style would seem to be the perfect fit for the novel's. That said, there were more than a few people who were worried that the film's visual style would be the only thing worth checking out. Early reviews seemed to alleviate a lot of those fears, but since then its Tomatometer Score as softened to 56% positive. That's hardly a terrible score, but it is also not one that can be seen as a major selling point either. Its visuals combined with the 3D nature of the movie should draw in a lot of moviegoers, while the higher prices for IMAX and other 3D screens should help it at the box office. Look for just over $70 million during its opening weekend, which will put it in a virtual tie with 300 for the record. However, Alice has to deal with a lot of strong competition, so I'm not sure it will reach $200 million in total.

After two weeks on top, Shutter Island will relinquish its crown. The intense competition from Alice in Wonderland could really hurt the film at the box office, even though the two films don't exactly share a lot of their respective target demographics. Worst case scenario has it falling more than 50%, as the new film cannibalizes many of this film's screens. However, it will likely avoid that fate and earn $13 million over the weekend, more or less, giving it $95 million to $96 million after three weeks of release. This might be enough for it to become the second film from 2010 to reach $100 million, or Alice could beat it there.

While Avatar finished last weekend in fourth place, it climbed into second place on Tuesday and remained there on Wednesday. However, there's a reason for this jump in ticket sales. Alice in Wonderland will grab all of the IMAX and most of the 3D screens, so if you wanted to see Avatar in 3D, this week was the last chance to do that. The loss of these premium priced screens will undoubtedly hurt the film, as will the Oscar broadcast (it's the only film in the top five in contention for an Oscar). But it could still remain in the top five, or even climb a spot to third. On the high end, the film could earn just over $10 million. Even earning just under $9 million should be enough to land in third place.

Cop Out has just about overtaken Clerks II on Kevin Smith's career box office list, while by the end of the weekend it could overtake Zack and Miri to become his biggest hit of all time. In order to do that, it will need between $8 million and $9 million. This is doable. In fact, it's not hard to imagine it placing third this weekend. However, there's a lot of competition in the $7 million to $9 million range, so if it misses expectations just a little bit and / or the rest of the films beat expectations, it could fall out of the top five as well.

The second widest release of the week is Brooklyn's Finest, but with a theater count of 1,936, it is not a truly wide release. It is also earning weak reviews and its four main leads are not exactly hot property at the box office at the moment. Additionally, Overture has a mixed track record at the box office. This adds up to an $8 million opening, more or less, which could be enough for fifth place.

If any of the previous three films stumble, The Crazies will be there looking to sneak into the top five. It does have reviews that should be a major selling point, especially for its genre, but most horror films tend to fade quickly. A greater than 50% drop-off is likely, which would leave it with just under $8 million and in sixth place, but it wouldn't take much to stay in the top five.

- C.S.Strowbridge Alice's Expectations are Wonderful - The Numbers

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Alice's Expectations are Wonderful

March 4th, 2010

It is the beginning of a new month and there's lots of pressure on the box office to keep up pace with last year. There was only one wide release this time last year, Watchmen, but it opened with more than $55 million, which at the time was the third best March opening ever. This time around Alice in Wonderland is expecting to top that figure. In fact, a lot think it will set the March opening record.

Tim Burton directing an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland makes so much sense, especially after he made Charlie and the Chocolate Factory back in 2005. His visual style would seem to be the perfect fit for the novel's. That said, there were more than a few people who were worried that the film's visual style would be the only thing worth checking out. Early reviews seemed to alleviate a lot of those fears, but since then its Tomatometer Score as softened to 56% positive. That's hardly a terrible score, but it is also not one that can be seen as a major selling point either. Its visuals combined with the 3D nature of the movie should draw in a lot of moviegoers, while the higher prices for IMAX and other 3D screens should help it at the box office. Look for just over $70 million during its opening weekend, which will put it in a virtual tie with 300 for the record. However, Alice has to deal with a lot of strong competition, so I'm not sure it will reach $200 million in total.

After two weeks on top, Shutter Island will relinquish its crown. The intense competition from Alice in Wonderland could really hurt the film at the box office, even though the two films don't exactly share a lot of their respective target demographics. Worst case scenario has it falling more than 50%, as the new film cannibalizes many of this film's screens. However, it will likely avoid that fate and earn $13 million over the weekend, more or less, giving it $95 million to $96 million after three weeks of release. This might be enough for it to become the second film from 2010 to reach $100 million, or Alice could beat it there.

While Avatar finished last weekend in fourth place, it climbed into second place on Tuesday and remained there on Wednesday. However, there's a reason for this jump in ticket sales. Alice in Wonderland will grab all of the IMAX and most of the 3D screens, so if you wanted to see Avatar in 3D, this week was the last chance to do that. The loss of these premium priced screens will undoubtedly hurt the film, as will the Oscar broadcast (it's the only film in the top five in contention for an Oscar). But it could still remain in the top five, or even climb a spot to third. On the high end, the film could earn just over $10 million. Even earning just under $9 million should be enough to land in third place.

Cop Out has just about overtaken Clerks II on Kevin Smith's career box office list, while by the end of the weekend it could overtake Zack and Miri to become his biggest hit of all time. In order to do that, it will need between $8 million and $9 million. This is doable. In fact, it's not hard to imagine it placing third this weekend. However, there's a lot of competition in the $7 million to $9 million range, so if it misses expectations just a little bit and / or the rest of the films beat expectations, it could fall out of the top five as well.

The second widest release of the week is Brooklyn's Finest, but with a theater count of 1,936, it is not a truly wide release. It is also earning weak reviews and its four main leads are not exactly hot property at the box office at the moment. Additionally, Overture has a mixed track record at the box office. This adds up to an $8 million opening, more or less, which could be enough for fifth place.

If any of the previous three films stumble, The Crazies will be there looking to sneak into the top five. It does have reviews that should be a major selling point, especially for its genre, but most horror films tend to fade quickly. A greater than 50% drop-off is likely, which would leave it with just under $8 million and in sixth place, but it wouldn't take much to stay in the top five.

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Filed under: Cop Out, Shutter Island, The Crazies, Brooklyn's Finest, Alice in Wonderland, Avatar