Weekend Box Office – ALICE IN WONDERLAND Still Reigns; DIARY OF A WIMPY KID Muscles Out THE BOUNTY HUNTER

     March 21, 2010

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As expected, Alice in Wonderland had more than enough momentum to take its third trip to the top of this weekend’s box office chart. Not quite as expected was the name of the film that took second place. Fox’s under-marketed Diary of a Wimpy Kid outperformed the insanely over-hyped launch of The Bounty Hunter… tabloid romance and all.

Title Weekend Total
1 Alice in Wonderland $34,500,000 $265.8
2 Diary of a Wimpy Kid $21,800,000 $21.8
3 The Bounty Hunter $21,000,000 $21
4 Repo Men $6,200,000 $6.2
5 She’s Out of My League $6,015,000 $19.9
6 Green Zone $5,900,000 $24.7
7 Shutter Island $4,755,000 $115.7
8 Avatar $4,000,000 $736.8
9 Our Family Wedding $3,800,000 $13.6
10 Remember Me $3,300,000 $13.9

Anne Hathaway Alice in Wonderland movie image (1).jpgBy the law of diminishing box office grosses, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was predestined for a first place finish this weekend. Last week’s $62 million was enough to put the film in the top five of all-time second weekends so even with a third week drop of 50%, Wonderland was going to place on the high-end of all-time third weekends as well. The film’s actual drop was more in the 45% range so, after 17 days in release, Alice has now earned an estimated $265.8 million here in the US and more than $300 million in international money.

As mentioned, the film that sits in second place is more of a surprise. If any of you like to follow the subjective art of bobounty_hunter_movie_poster_01.jpgx office previews, you would be forgiven for believing that Diary of a Wimpy Kid was destined for a very modest opening weekend. Most of what I read pointed to the film’s weak marketing campaign and its lack of major stars. But when was the last time that having an A-lister on board actually ensured a movie’s success? I can think of eight major-league, major-name disappointments from the past year alone.

Speaking of which…  Despite what was described by the prognosticators as “strong pre-release audience polling” and the all-out tabloid assault by stars Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, Sony/Relativity’s The Bounty Hunter ended up being outshone this weekend by a Wimpy Kid. It is a little bit embarrassing. Diary of a Wimpy Kid cost a reported $19 million and earned an estimated $21.8 million in its first weekend in 3,077 theatres. This means that the business of adapting children’s books into live-action movies has been given new life. Yay?

In contrast, The Bounty Hunter cost somewhere between $40 and $50 million, or about average for a modern romantic-comedy – if that is the preferred genre that the studio is calling it this week. To be fair, however, The Bounty Hunter was not expected to bring in more than $20 to $25 million in its opening, so its $21 million debut in 3,074 theatres was only really surprising and/or disappointing in terms of its third place finish.

repo_men_movie_image_jude_law_forest_whitaker_01.jpgAlong with The Bounty Hunter, Relativity also has its name on Repo Men, the third new release of the week – though they will have a much harder time finding the positive spin on the latter. After waiting nearly two years for a release date, the futuristic body part-snatching drama Repo Men opened to a very disappointing $6.2 million from 2,521 theatres despite the herculean promotional efforts of star Jude Law over the past week.

As for the bevy of titles that were new last weekend, Remember Me had the steepest decline, falling almost 60% into tenth place. Team Edward, what happened there?

Next week the throne of Alice in Wonderland is sure to be usurped as the latest wave in the 3D assault advances on the multiplex: Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon. This also means that Avatar, which you may have noticed ranked at number eight this weekend, may get pushed out of the top ten for the first time in 15 weeks. They will just have to be content with their 2.6 billion dollar gross I guess.

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