The buzz had been building for months that Walt Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” was going to be a monster at the box office, but even the Mouse House has to be overjoyed with the results that the seventh Tim Burton and Johnny Depp collaboration have yielded. Opening on over 3,700 screens, “Wonderland” grossed an astounding $41 million on Friday for what should be anywhere from $110-125 million for the weekend.
How high “Alice” can go will depend on if it can get any Saturday bump and if it loses any audience at all Sunday night to the 82nd Academy Awards. For historical comparison, “Alice” is the biggest single opening day 3-D movie in U.S. history smashing “Shrek the Third’s” $38.4 million in May, 2007 and now ranks No. 7 on all time opening days right behind Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” For additional perspective, James Cameron’s “Avatar” opened to only $26.7 million in December, but current record holder “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” found $72.7 million on no IMAX or 3-D screens just last November.
Coming in second Friday with an impressive $4.75 million on only 1,900 screens was Overture Films’ “Brooklyn’s Finest.” The Antoine Fuqua thriller had troubles with finding a distributor after strong notices after the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, but in a rare case of everything working out in the end, “Finest” is looking at around $12 million for the 3-day. Considering industry tracking had the opening at $8-10 million, Overture will take it.
Hanging strong in third was Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Shutter Island” with another $3.975 million for a new cume of $86.5 million. Even with more competition on the way the thriller should easily reach the $100 million mark over the next few weeks.
Comedy stuck around in the top five as “Cop Out” stole another $2.8 million for an eight day gross of $26 million. The Kevin Smith directed comedy Looks like it will top out around $40-45 million when all is said and done. Not bad considering it reportedly cost only $30 million to make.
In the fifth slot was another Overture release “The Crazies” with $2.3 million and a new cume of $22.7 million. The horror flick had a strong drop of 61% from the Friday before which means it may be lucky if it can hit $35 million.
Still in limited release, “The Ghost Writer” expanded to 147 screens on Friday and found a very good $390,000 for a new cume of $1.7 million. At this pace, the Roman Polanski thriller should top out at around $10 million if Summit Entertainment decides not to go wide with the film in the next few weeks. A tough call.
Look for final weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.