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ALICE IN WONDERLAND Box Office: 45M Friday; AVATAR No Longer Top Five

Cheshire Cat Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton's revamping of Lewis Carroll's fantasy, has decimated the competition at the Friday box office, reports Nikki Finke at Deadline.com. The film grossed an estimated $45 million on Friday, a staggering amount that easily beat Avatar's opening day take (which was affected by a winter storm that covered much of the Eastern US). (Updated Alice in Wonderland box office report.) (Image: Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.)

Finke estimates that Alice in Wonderland may gross between $115-$120 million over the weekend – vs. Avatar's $77 million – which would make it both the biggest March release and the biggest 3D debut ever. To date (not adjusted for inflation), the best opening weekend at the North American box office belongs to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale as Batman and the then recently deceased Heath Ledger as The Joker. The blockbuster earned $158 million on its first weekend in mid-2008.

Alice in Wonderland, which has received mixed reviews, stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and the voice of Stephen Fry.

At a (very) distant second, Antoine Fuqua's cop drama Brooklyn's Finest took in an estimated $5.2 million Friday for a possible weekend total of $14.5 million at 1,936 screens. Not a terribly impressive debut, but not a disappointing figure, either. Brooklyn's Finest stars Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke.

As expected, James Cameron's Avatar dropped out of the top-five on Friday, ranking at #7 with only $1.3 million, right behind Garry Marshall's all-star romantic comedy Valentine's Day. Avatar, however, is expected to end the weekend at #6 with $5.5 million – as long as past Saturday surges take place once again later today.

Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, was #3 with an estimated $4 million and an estimated $13.5 million for the weekend. Martin Scorsese's thriller was followed by Kevin Smith's comedy Cop Out with $3 million and $9.5 million for the weekend. The Crazies was next with $2.5 million and an estimated weekend gross of $7.5 million.

Update: Those were early estimates published at Deadline.com late Friday night. More accurate estimates will be posted here on Saturday.

Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat photo: Disney Enterprises

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