Weekend Wrap-Up

Green Zone No Match for Alice at the Box Office

By John Hamann

March 14, 2010

Some clubs are really strange.

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After a surprisingly huge opening weekend at the box office, Alice in Wonderland was looking for an Avatar-sized hold this weekend. The Tim Burton film opened to an amazing $116.1 million last weekend, and Disney would have been looking for depreciation to be around between 30% and 40%, as the pressure is on to earn as much as possible before losing its 3-D screens to DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon on March 26th. Four new films opened this weekend, none of which posed any demographic threat to Alice. Debuting titles include Green Zone with Matt Damon, Remember Me with Robert Pattinson, She's Out of My League and Our Family Wedding.

Our number one film of the weekend is of course Alice in Wonderland, as the Disney flick steamrolls over the $200 million threshold. A 30% drop from last weekend's huge debut would give the Tim Burton film approximately an $80 million frame; a 40% drop about $70 million. I have to think that Disney was aiming to come in somewhere in between $70 and $80 million this weekend. Alice did have some things working against it, most notably the rush to see it last weekend, when the Johnny Depp starrer pulled down that $116 million. Other issues included questionable word-of-mouth, and whether this one was too dark for the very little ones in the audience. Alice in Wonderland's second Friday came in at about $17.2 million, which means the 3-D spectacle was off about 58% from its debut Friday, which did include some dollars from midnight screenings. At this point, we knew that Alice was going to have to work hard over the remainder of the weekend to reach that 40% drop we talked about above. The good news for Alice is that its family-friendly nature allowed it to even out slightly over the rest of the weekend, which gives Alice in Wonderland a second frame of $62 million. The hold comes in at 47%, which isn't bad, considering what is was up against. Alice in Wonderland crosses the $200 million mark today, its 10th day of release, where it joins films like Avatar, Shrek the Third and two Harry Potter films as the tenth fastest to reach $200 million. Alice now has a running total of $208.6 million, it should have no problem of reaching $300 million; however, it will have at least an okay hold against How to Train Your Dragon later this month. It does have another competition-free weekend coming up.


Finishing second this weekend is Matt Damon's Green Zone, from director Paul Greengrass (United 963, Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum). With the Damon/Greengrass connection, and this being an action movie with Damon in the lead role, one might think this one would have been a $40 million opener. The only problem with Green Zone is that it's an Iraq war movie, which lately has been pure death at the box office. So, instead of a $40 million opening weekend, Green Zone finished the frame with an ugly opening of only $14.5 million from 3,003 venues, and you can blame that total completely on the subject matter. The story deals with an operative trying to track WMDs at the start of the Iraq war, and we all know how that ends up, so how much fun could this one really be? The biggest problem for the Universal release is the cost, as Green Zone came in with a $100 million price tag, and I doubt international audiences are going to rush out to seen an American Iraq war movie, Damon or not.

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