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Alice is out of New Releases' League

March 11th, 2010

There are three or four new wide releases coming out this week (depending on your definition of wide) but it appears that none of them have a real shot at taking top spot away from Alice in Wonderland. This is true despite the overwhelming majority of analysts who are predicting that the film will suffer at least a 55% drop-off this weekend. Fortunately for the box office as a whole, this should still be more than enough to keep pace with last year, even if none of the new releases match the best of last year's crop.

Alice in Wonderland has no real competition at the box office, not with the new releases and not with last year's big hit. (Alice made more during its opening weekend than Watchmen made in total.) We could compare it to the previous record holder for the best March opening ever, 300. That film fell 54% during its second weekend of release, earning $32.88 million in the process. It is very likely that Alice in Wonderland will fall faster, but it will still extend its lead over 300 over the weekend. Best-case scenario has the film down just over 50% to just over $55 million, while there is a strong possibility its drop will be over 60% leaving it with under $45 million. I think the latter is slightly more likely leaving the film with $48 million over the weekend and giving it $195 million after two. Even with this decline, $250 million is a lock, while $300 million can't be entirely dismissed.

The best of the new releases appears to be The Green Zone, which is currently earning the best reviews, is opening in the most theaters, and will likely have the best opening weekend. Granted, its reviews are just a hair below 50% positive, while it appears to be tracking at $18 million to $19 million at the box office. Compared to the previous Matt Damon / Paul Greengrass collaboration, this is a huge drop-off. However, the reviews are weaker, the release date is weaker, it is not part of a franchise, and the competition is stronger, so it is expected and I don't think the studio will be upset by this result.

The only other new release opening in close to 3,000 theaters is She's Out of My League, which makes its debut in 2,956 movie houses. The film's star power is low with Jay Baruchel leading the way, and this is his first lead role in a major movie. On the positive side, the trailer is effective while its reviews are weak, but not so weak that it will be a major detriment to the film's box office chances. On the high end, the film could earn $17 million, putting it on par with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man. However, it could also fail to reach $10 million. $12 million seems to be the consensus, but I'm going with $14 million.

Next up is Remember Me, which stars Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame. This is his first chance to show he has box office power outside of a major franchise, but expectations are not great. First of all, its reviews are rather weak with a lot of people complaining quite vigorously about the ending (which I won't discuss here). Additionally, its theater count it quite low at just 2,212. There is a possibility it could miss the $10 million mark; in fact, it would miss it by enough to miss the top five. On the other hand, it could surprise and fight for second place. I'm going with $13 million, which means it will be in a tight battle for She's Out of My League for third place.

Shutter Island will likely spend one last weekend in the top five and add $8 million over the weekend. Additionally, it will reached $100 million early on Friday to become the third film of 2010 to reach that milestone.

The final movie earning a wide release this weekend is Our Family Wedding. However, with an opening theater count of 1,605, some might argue its not opening truly wide. Then again, with a Tomatometer Score of just 4% positive, some might argue its not truly a movie and it is merely a TV Sitcom that somehow earned a theatrical release. Low theater count, lower Tomatometer Score, and a distributor that mostly handles limited releases all suggest this film could struggle at the box office. Even on the high end, it seems unlikely that the movie will earn a place in the top five, while there's a slim chance it will open outside the top ten. (It would have to miss the Mendoza Line to do that.) Look for $6 million over the weekend and a relatively short stay in theaters.

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Filed under: Shutter Island, Our Family Wedding, Remember Me, She's Out of My League, Alice in Wonderland, Green Zone