Home > Box Office > ‘Alice’ is Aces, but audiences Zone-out ‘Green’

‘Alice’ is Aces, but audiences Zone-out ‘Green’

March 15th, 2010


An interesting thing happened at the box office this weekend. For the second time, a 3-D film held on to top picture status for more than just its opening week. The last film to do that was “Avatar,” and now it’s “Alice in Wonderland”‘s turn to rule the B.O. roost. What’s even more surprising is the disparity between the number one and number two films’ grosses: “Alice in Wonderland” brought in $62 million on 3,728 screens, while the number two picture, “The Green Zone,” which opened on 3,003 screens, managed only $14.5 million. It’s a slap in the face for Universal, which had greater hopes for the thriller; critics have described it as ‘Bourne in Iraq,’ owing to the reteaming of “Bourne Supremacy” and “Bourne Ultimatum” director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon. It may mean that audiences, while embracing Greengrass’ high-octane action in a fiction setting, eschew the same when it’s tied to U.S. geo-political reality.

Things were even worse for “She’s Out of My League,” which opened with only $9.6 million at almost as many theaters as ‘Zone.’ The Robert Pattinson-starrer “Remember Me” fared even worse, with $8.3 million on its opening weekend, although it was playing on 2,212 screens, nearly 800 less than ‘League.’ In any case, these soft openings reinforce Hollywood’s ‘tentpole’ theory, which pegs success on big-budget ‘tentpole’ films – and their inevitable sequels. What’s becoming increasingly obvious is the large returns from 3-D films; expect to see a lot more of these: Warner Brothers has already returned the 2-D “Clash of the Titans” to the shop to receive the ‘retroactive’ 3-D treatment, which entailed moving back the opening date so stereo retro-engineering could take place. And get ready for a 3-D onslaught this year: we’ve already seen 3-D animated films “Up” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” as well as stop-action “Coraline.” But coming up are a lot more 3-D films: the aforementioned “Clash of the Titans,” Disney’s rebooted “Tron 3-D,” “Toy Story 3,” “Shrek Forever After,” not to mention James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels – and even a 3-D re-engineered version of “Titanic.”

Can a “Star Trek”-like holo-deck be far behind? And what would audiences pay for THAT? (If you hear a noise in the background, it’s probably the sound of movie studio executives salivating over the idea of even greater profits…)

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