ALICE 1

SATURDAY PM UPDATE: Disney’s Alice In Wonderland is a monster hit alice in wonderland posterdespite blowing past its budget and bringing back mediocre reviews. It clearly becomes the biggest 3D bow ever and the best March release ever and the highest grossing movie of 2010 with $41 million on Friday and $44.3 million on Saturday. Remember, those higher priced 3D tickets make all the difference. Even so, the Tim Burton-directed, Johnny Depp-starring fantasy flick had the biggest 3D release of all time. Of its 3,728 North American locations this weekend, its total domestic 3D count is 2,063, plus 180 Imax 3D engagements. That helped the pic post a $116.3M opening weekend with numbers  blowing away Avatar‘s first Fri-Sat-Sun. IMAX on Friday had the biggest day in their history with $4.3M for Alice. The IMAX weekend take of $11+M also is a record for the big screen company. Overseas, Alice shot to #1 almost everywhere after opening day and date in 40 territories beginning Wednesday. Disney narrowly avoided a boycott overseas when UK and other exhibitors were angered by the studio’s plans to shorten the theatrical-to-DVD window from 16 weeks to just 12 weeks. (UK Exhibitors End Boycott Of Disney’s Alice)

As for foreign grosses, Alice debuted to $94 million in 40+ markets representing only 60% of the international marketplace. That means the worldwide box office was $210.3M. That’s only 2nd to Avatar‘s $242M global bow, but Wonderland‘s domestic total blew past Avatar‘s.

This would be a huge triumph for Walt Disney Studios except this also is one of those awkward Hollywood situations where a studio cleans house of top executives only to have the new management preside over a hit courtesy of their predecessors. In this case, Rich Ross et al will benefit from what Dick Cook and Oren Aviv hath wrought. Everyone knows that Dick had a very special relationship with both Tim and Johnny. But what’s really amusing is the way that one of Alice‘s producers, Joe Roth, is trying to use the film to claw his way back into Hollywood. I see the former Disney and Fox production chief who failed miserably with his Revolution Studios is up to his old trick of manipulating the media, this time with a tale of how he put together Wonderland singlehandedly. (Oh, puh-leeze.) “Don’t you think 4 years in the penalty box is long enough?” a Roth pal emailed me today. Not when considering how arrogantly he made so many awful movies. And not when knowing that Alice blew past its budget. (Roth admits to $150M, but I hear the real figure is $200M.)

The only other major newcomer this weekend was Overture’s Brooklyn’s Finest directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke opened like most R-rated action films: it had a $4.7M Friday and $5.5M Saturday for a $13.5M weekend.

Here’s the Top 10 as of Saturday. (Numbers will be refined in the morning.)

1. Alice In Wonderland (Disney) NEW [3,728 Theaters]
Friday $41M, Saturday $44.3M, Weekend $116.3M, Worldwide $210.3M
2. Brooklyn’s Finest (Overture) NEW [1,936 Theaters]
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.1M
3. Shutter Island (Paramount) Week 3 [3,178 Theaters]
Friday $4.0M, Saturday $6.0M, Weekend $13.0M, Cume $95.6M
4. Cop Out (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,150 Theaters]
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.0M, Weekend $9.1M, Cume $32.3M
5. The Crazies (Overture) Week 2 [2,479 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $6.9M, Cume $27.3M
6. Avatar (Fox) [2,163 Theaters] Week 12
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.6M, Weekend $7.7M, Cume $720.1M
7. Percy Jackson (Fox) Week 4 [2,994 Theaters]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.1M, Cume $78.0M
8. Valentine’s Day (Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,040 Theaters]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.2M, Cume $106.4M
9. Crazy Heart (Fox Searchlight) Week 12 [1,274 Theaters]
Friday $925K, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $3.3M, Cume $29.5M
10. Dear John (Sony) Week 5 [2,496 Theaters]
Friday $965K, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $2.8M, Estimated Cume $76.6M

7:40 PM: I’m hearing that Friday’s North American grosses for Disney’s 3D Alice In Wonderland are looking like $35+M and maybe even as high as $40M from 3,728 theaters. This would make it the biggest film of 2010 so far and its aleady the biggest 3D bow ever. Also opening this weekend is Overture’s cop drama Brooklyn’s Finest which could hit $5M today for a possible $13M weekend.

10:55 AM: I just learned that today’s matinees for Disney’s Alice In Wonderland are running ahead of Avatar‘s so far.

FRIDAY AM: First it was $90+M. Now I’m hearing from Hollywood that Disney’s Alice In Wonderland has a real shot at $100 million weekend.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.