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Audiences Stay Mad over Alice

March 16th, 2010

The box office results were mostly fantastic over the weekend, thanks almost entirely to one film, Alice in Wonderland. The movie was able to hold on better than almost everyone predicted, but the rest of the new releases failed to connect. This resulted in a 26% drop from last weekend, as the overall market pulled in $147 million. However, this was 45% higher than the same weekend last year. Meanwhile, year-to-date 2010 has now pulled in $2.24 billion, which is nearly 9.0% higher than last year's pace.

There have been 15 films that have opened with more than $100 million at the box office. Most of the time, these films suffer large drop-offs during their sophomore stints. Five of the fifteen fell more than 60% during their second weekend of release. So it comes as no real surprise that many analysts were predicting a similar outcome for Alice in Wonderland. However, it managed to avoid that fate and fell just 46% to $62.71 million over the weekend, giving it a running tally of $209.34 million. Its reviews were not great, but the younger target demographic and the 3D effects helped. At this pace, $300 million is practically guaranteed, while it could reach $800 million worldwide.

While The Green Zone did manage to open in second place, it did so with a far weaker than expected opening of $14.31 million. Critics were evenly split over the movie, while its internal multiplier is good. This suggests it will have respectable holds over the coming weeks, but the most it can hope for now is $50 million. This is certainly not what the studio was expecting when they agreed to pay $100 million for the next Paul Greengrass / Matt Damon collaboration. Unless it manages to be a massive hit internationally, there's little chance of breaking even at this point.

Unfortunately, since that was the best new release of the week, things only get worse from here. She's Out of My League opened in third place, but with just $9.78 million in 2,956 theaters. It was mentioned on Thursday that missing $10 million was a possibility, but it wasn't something that a lot of people were predicting. Mixed reviews suggest that while it didn't find an audience during its opening weekend, it should be discovered by more people down the road. That said, this likely won't happen util the home market, as its per theater average is low enough that many theater owners will drop the film as soon as possible. On the positive side, the film only cost about $20 million to make, so it has a good chance at showing a profit some time during the film's home market run.

On Friday, Shutter Island became the third film of the year to reach $100 million at the box office. After earning $8.14 million over the weekend, it now has $108.01 million after four weeks of release and it is about to overtake Valenine's Day as the second biggest hit of the year.

Remember Me showed it takes more than a Twilight collection to get teenage girls to movies theaters. The film barely made the top five with $8.09 million. Robert Pattinson wasn't enough to overcome its reviews, while its internal multiplier and weak per theater average suggests a short stay in theaters. The only good news is the film's production budget, which was low enough to suggest that it could still break even if it is a hit on the home market.

Our Family Wedding was the only new release to beat expectations as it nearly captured a spot in the top five with $7.63 million. On the other hand, its Tomatometer Score was the worst in the top ten at just 17% positive. Its per theater average was respectable, but I don't think it is going to expand significantly over the coming weeks. But at least it is unlikely to simply disappear.

On a side note, Avatar was pushed out of the top five for the first time during its run. Still, it added $6.53 million in 1718 theaters, so its per theater average was better than half the new releases. Also, with a running tally of $730.27 million, it is aiming for a final domestic box office north of $750 million.

Brooklyn's Finest was the only film in the sophomore class not to reach the top five this week, as it fell more than 66% to $4.47 million over the week for a total of $21.53 million after two. It might not get to $30 million at this pace.


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