The Walt Disney Company initially ruffled some serious feathers among theater distributors world wide when it announced plans to release “Alice in Wonderland” on DVD and Blu-ray only a few short months after its theatrical debut. This was before the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fantasy flick had hit the big screen and theater owners were understandably wary about their chances at losing significant revenue from the “Charlie at the Chocolate Factory” duo. In some worldwide territories, Disney balked and pushed the date back, but in most cases they stood their ground. After “Alice” hit $1 billion in worldwide revenues today, hardly anyone is complaining.
With $332 million domestic and $667 million internationally, “Alice in Wonderland” becomes only the sixth picture all time to reach the elusive billion dollar club joining “Avatar,” “Titanic,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “The Dark Knight.” Only $1.8 million behind “Dark Knight,” it should jump into fifth place tomorrow or this weekend. In comparison, while “Alice’s” achievement in impressive, much of it can be tied to increased ticket prices for 3-D screens across the globe. Additionally, it is nothing compared to the worldwide success of “Avatar” which has grossed $2.726 billion including $748 million in the U.S. and almost $2 billion alone overseas. Clearly, with the advent of more expensive 3-D tickets, the billion dollar club will soon be getting much bigger.
Current Disney chairman Rich Ross — who had nothing to do with the greenlighting or development of the film — said in a statement, “”We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to showcase such an amazing 3-D film from visionary director Tim Burton and the creative talents of Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway. Our marketing teams joined with our exhibition partners to find every opportunity to bring this creative masterpiece to fans around the world.”
The studio is releasing “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” tomorrow. It is not expected to join “Alice” in the billion dollar club.
“Alice in Wonderland” will debut on DVD and Blu-ray on June 1.