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Posted on March 22, 2010 | tags


Culture: “Alice in Wonderland” no “Avatar,” but it was close for a while

  • “Alice” had a good first week, and hasn’t done bad, but it’s not epic. Tim Burton’s latest big-budget hit, which also uses the spectacular 3D technology of “Avatar” (though not as well), looked like it was on the way to a similarly epic run for a couple of weeks. But while it did good this week, it’s now clear that it’ll just be a big hit, not an epic one.

“Alice” in her third weekend

  • 45% dip in box-office receipts in weekend three source
  • $116M “Alice in Wonderland’s” box-office take after its first weekend
  • $209M “Alice’s” second-week mark; receipts dipped 46 percent
  • $265M its third-week tally; it managed to stay on top despite competition

“Avatar’s” first three weeks

  • 9.8% dip in “Avatar” in its third weekend source
  • $77M where “Avatar” stood after its snow-marred first weekend
  • $212M “Avatar” after weekend two; it was a huge hit during the week, even
  • $352M after its third weekend, it was over halfway to “Titanic’s” $600 million

Why the diverging paths?

  • » Did the snow help “Avatar” build staying power? Director James Cameron miraculously had a movie with a similar box-office run to his previous film, “Titanic.” Part of that may have been due to a huge snowstorm which slammed the East Coast in its first weekend, keeping demand for the movie high when the snow was eventually cleared.
  • » Blow up, then fade: One of the major differences between “Alice” and “Avatar” is that “Alice” had a more traditional path to success, one that most blockbusters have followed in the last decade. The much-hyped movie with the big first weekend often fades quickly. Some exceptions exist – “The Dark Knight,” for example, came out of the gate quicker than “Avatar” did and had some staying power, but faded by its fifth week. The secret to an “Avatar”-style run? Slow and steady wins the race.