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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 03/15/2010

Breaking down the weekend box office, all about 'Alice' edition

By Jen Chaney

One weird-looking queen to rule the box office. (Disney via AP)

The freakish, Bobble-headed Red Queen continued her reign over the box office this weekend, with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" holding onto its place as the No. 1 movie in America. Some notable nuggets to consider after parsing this summary of which flicks ranked on the top 10 money-makers list:

Box office? Your booty is a 'Wonderland': "Alice in Wonderland" added another $62 million to its North American box office total, which, as the Associated Press points out, amounts to almost as much revenue as the money generated by the other nine flicks in the top 10 combined. Yes, it's important to note that "Alice" is playing in 3D and 3D Imax in many locations, which means that ticket prices are often jacked up accordingly. Still, even with higher admission costs factored in, movie attendance is up 6.7 percent compared to this time last year. And that's all because of Tim Burton and the madness of Johnny Depp's Hatter.

War movies, even with Matt Damon in the lead, don't make much money: "Green Zone" opened to a mere $14.5 million reception here in the States and Canada, enough to put it in the No. 2 spot but still a somewhat paltry showing for a Damon-helmed action flick, which is how Universal marketed the movie. (Even more paltry when one realizes that it cost $100 million to make the thing.) Add it to the list of films that deal with the war in Iraq but can't seem to generate ticket sales. Speaking of which, on to the next nugget...

Did the Oscar-winners see a bump in box office? "The Hurt Locker" won the Academy Award for best picture, and it won a little more money at the box office over the weekend, in a limited re-release meant to capitalize on its Oscar buzz. It ranked at No. 17 on the weekend list, bringing in an additional $828,000 in 349 theaters -- not amazing, but not too bad considering the movie is already out on DVD. "The Blind Side" (which saw an uptick of 24 percent) and "Crazy Heart," which made $3.1 million this weekend, both ranked ahead of "Locker." And the only Oscar contender in the top 10? The alleged loser of last week's ceremony: "Avatar," whose tally in North America alone has risen to more than $730 million.

"Twilight" + "Lost" = box office gold? Right? Er, wrong: Summit Entertainment undoubtedly thought that pairing an adorable supporting player from "Lost" (Emilie de Ravin) with Mr. Edward Cullen (aka Robert Pattinson) would lead to a box office winner. But it didn't. "Remember Me" made $8.3 million, putting it in fourth place. I think it generated more chatter about its controversial twist ending than it did in ticket sales.

What about next weekend? So what will top next weekend's box office? Can "Alice" hold on, or will America be so enchanted by the banter between Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler in "The Bounty Hunter" that they simply must rush to theaters? (Cough.) Personally, I think the battle for No. 1 comes down to "Alice" vs. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." But make your own predictions in the poll below.

By Jen Chaney  | March 15, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Pop Culture  | Tags:  Box office, movies  
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Comments

The release of "Wimpy Kid" is on par with Christmas in our house. We are dropping everything and clearing our schedules to stand in line with other children to see.this.film.

The Wimpy Kid series has done more to get young boys interested in reading than anything coming down the pike lately. The previews look good and I wish the franchise well.

Posted by: mdreader01 | March 15, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You have no idea how disappointed I am to learn that Repo Men is NOT the sequel to Repo Man.

Posted by: MStreet1 | March 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, "Green Zone" looks dumb. While I usually like dumb action movies, I don't need to see a dumb action movie about a war we're still fighting.

"Remember Me" seems to have had marketing problems, as in, I haven't seen anything but print marketing done for it. That's never a good sign.

I think "Alice" is safe for the next week.

As for the post-Oscar bump, it might be more useful to look at the per-theater box office haul, rather than the overall box office. On a per-theater basis, "Hurt Locker" did better than either "Crazy Heart" or "The Blind Side" last weekend. Also, its improvement over the week previous was very impressive; "Crazy Heart"'s $3.1m was actually less than it pulled in the week previous, even though it added screens. "The Blind Side", on the other hand, dropped a few screens but improved its box office take, a clear positive bump.

Posted by: northgs | March 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Also in fairness to "Hurt Locker" there are several theater chains that WILL NOT as a matter of policy show a film that is already available on DVD, hence the very small number of theater screens.

Big "Blind Side" bump doesn't surprise me. I saw it when it first came out. My feeling at the time was if it were not for the outstanding Bullock performance (which still should have come in second to Streep, but that's another post) lifting its level, it's basically a Lifetime Movie. But the woman/character is such a pistol you do find yourself wondering just what the heck she's going to say or do next. A worthy feel good way to spend a couple of hours, no doubt.

Posted by: sorcerers_cat | March 15, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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