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Weekend Box Office: Alice in Wonderland Trounces Weak Remember Me and Green Zone

by Anthony D'Alessandro
March 14, 2010 5:00 AM
3 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

Anthony D'Alessandro reports on the weekend box office, which brought major disappointments in Green Zone and Remember Me, which opened in second and fourth place (full b.o. chart below):

In its second weekend, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland didn’t continue to pay out in hearts -- rather spades, as the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration drank up an estimated $62 million at 3,728 tea parties, repping the best sophomore frame ever for a film playing prior to summer. After posting a record first weekend for a non-sequel, Alice had a wonderful hold, slipping 47% with a theater average of $16,631 and a running 10-day domestic cume of $208.6 million.

Four distribs attempted to counterprogram against the Disney title this weekend based on the misguided notion that Alice was strictly family fare.  However, rather than nipping away at Alice’s audience, Alice sliced off theirs.

“This is the quintessential four quadrant movie, playing to adults at one time of day, families at matinees as well as couples,” gloated Disney distribution president Chuck Viane. “The word of mouth on this film is sensational around world and it’s not often for a blockbuster film to decline 47% in its second weekend.” Alice’s charm extends around the world, as Disney foresees a worldwide cume of $430 million Monday morning.

The previous second weekend frame record for a pre-summer release belongs to Mel Gibson’s R-rated biblical epic The Passion of the Christ which generated $53.2 million in 2004. Among all films, Avatar holds the all-time record for a sophomore session with $75.6 million.

Universal/Relativity’s Green Zone fired up $14.5 million off 3,003 sites in second, with a total worldwide weekend of $24.2 million. While most Middle Eastern war pics face a challenge at the box office, Universal vied to overcome that stigma in its marketing by hyping up the connection between star Matt Damon, director Paul Greengrass and their Bourne action films. Next to its lofty $130 million production cost, the weekend doesn't bode well for Green Zone with grosses falling way outside the range of the $50 million-plus bows associated with the Bourne franchise. Green Zone exhibited a 54% male and 44% female demo split with 67% of the crowd skewing over the age of 30.Film’s opening clocked in under that of 2007’s The Kingdom, also a Universal Middle Eastern war flick which generated $17.1 million. Interestingly enough, one of the better openings for a Middle Eastern war pic belongs to Universal’s 2005 Desert Storm title Jarhead which minted an opening of $27.7 million. Jarhead and Green Zone charted similar Cinemascores respectively of a B and a B-, however, the Sam Mendes film boasted an edgy Kanye West-scored trailer mixing dark humor and action.

Outside of summer, R-rated comedies have it hard, and if a title can muster a $20 million opening, it is considered stupendous. Pre-summer titles such as Old School, I Love You, Man and Forgetting Sarah Marshall saw $17 million-plus openings driven by their recognizable leading thesps. Paramount’s She’s Out of My League charted lower than its winter/spring R-rated comedy brethren with $9.6 million in third off of 2,956. The studio placed League's ensemble cast at the center of its marketing campaign, led by Jay Baruchel of Judd Apatow fame and comedian T.J. Miller (Cloverfield). (Both actors voice characters in the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film How to Train Your Dragon.)

Drawing a split between girls and boys in the over and under 25 crowd and catering to 52% females overall, League out-pegged another femme title, Summit Entertainment’s Remember Me between Friday and Saturday. If there’s a silver lining down the road for League it’s that R-rated comedies have great legs at this time of year.

Remember Me came in at the lower end of the distrib’s expectations, notching fourth with $8.3 million off 2,212. Overall, the Robert Pattinson romantic drama attracted a heavy female audience (84%), predominantly under the age of 25 (53%). A little more than a month later, Remember Me follows another young female skewing romantic drama in the marketplace, Sony-Screen Gems’ Dear John, which racked up a strong first weekend of $30.5 million and currently counts an estimated cume just under $80 million. Though both Remember Me and Dear John tout Tomatoscores of 27% and 28% respectively, John packed more in terms of credits, riding on its source material by Nicholas Sparks and the rising star power of Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) and Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). Many critics lambasted Remember Me for its script, particularly its melodramatic final act.

Summit made a point to keep the budget and overall P&A low on Remember Me and sees an upside due to the film’s strong foreign pre-sales.

The fourth wide release this weekend, Fox Searchlight’s culture clash wedding comedy Our Family Wedding, opened with an estimated $7.6 million at 1,605 in sixth.

Avatar may have been snubbed as Oscar’s best picture, however, the James Cameron sci-fi epic continues to float at the box office, dipping 19% from last weekend with $6.6 million and a total domestic take of $730.3 million. Oscar’s best picture winnerThe Hurt Locker from Summit enjoyed a boost in its limited release of 115%, mining $828,000 at 349 theaters. New domestic cume is $15.7 million. Warner Bros.’ The Blind Side starring best actress winner Sandra Bullock saw a 24% spike in its estimated weekend on 803 runs with $1.56 million and a new total of $252.7 million. Fox Searchlight’s Crazy Heart headlining best actor Jeff Bridges saw a 6% dip with $3.125 million at 1,361 venues for a new domestic cume of $34.2 million.

Weekend Box Office Chart:

1. Alice in Wonderland (Disney): $62 million, down 47% in its second weekend at 3,728 theaters. $16,631 theater average. Domestic total: $208.6 million.
2. Green Zone (Universal): $14.5 million in its first weekend at 3,003 theaters. $4,840 theater average. Domestic total: $14.5 million.
3. She’s out of My League (Paramount): $9.6 million in its first weekend at 2,956 theaters. $3,248 theater average. Domestic total: $9.6 million.
4. Remember Me (Summit Entertainment): $8.3 million in its first weekend at 2,212 theaters, theater average $3,744. Domestic total: $8.3 million.
5. Shutter Island (Paramount): $8.1 million, down 39% in its fourth weekend at 3,356 theaters. $2,426 theater average. Domestic total: $108.0 million.
6. Our Family Wedding (Fox Searchlight): $7.6 million in its first weekend at 1,605 theaters. $4,735 theater average. Domestic total: $7.6 million.
7. Avatar(Fox): $6.6 million down 19% in its 13th weekend at 1,718 theaters. $3,842 theater average. Domestic total: $730.3 million.
8. Brooklyn’s Finest (Overture): $4.29 million, down 68% in its second weekend at 1,939 theaters. $2,212 theater average. Domestic total: $21.4 million.
9. Cop Out (Warner Bros.): $4.23 million, down 54% in its third weekend at 2,882 theaters. Theater average $1,468. Domestic total: $39.4 million.
10. The Crazies (Overture): $3.65 million, down 48% in its third weekend at 2,359 theaters. Theater average $1,547. Domestic total: $33.4 million.
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3 Comments

  • Joe Valdez | March 16, 2010 1:05 AMReply

    I give Hollywood credit for at least trying to deal with the Iraq War while it was being fought. Maybe this was faith that audiences were mature enough to come to a movie about Middle East, or faith in the filmmakers who wanted to tell those stories.

    I'm curious Anne, do you think anyone else besides Kathryn Bigelow & Mark Boal found the right approach?

    I think we're entering an era where the filmmakers documenting the next war will all be soldiers shooting and editing their own films while still enlisted.

  • Binky Lopez | March 15, 2010 8:03 AMReply

    Go T.J. Miller!!!

  • Matt Damon's Mom | March 15, 2010 5:41 AMReply

    Who is silly enough to pay 12 bucks to go see an anti-American movie like Green Zone? Matt Damon is just a puppet for Universal, who's owned by puppetmaster G.E.

    I will not only avoid any future Matt Damon movies, I won't buy G.E. either. I bought my new Whirlpool waterheater this weekend at Lowes, just to avoid the G.E. waterheater at Home Depot. Don't just boycott the puppet, boycott the puppetmaster too!

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