Matt Damon & Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart Movies Flop + 'Avatar' Trailing 'Ben-Hur'?

Ruffnut How to Train Your Dragon

April 2 update: Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and America Ferrera, How to Train Your Dragon was back at the top of the North American box office chart on Thursday. The animated 3D fantasy grossed $5.24 million (up 16 percent), according to Box Office Mojo.

Down one slot, The Last Song earned $4.26 million (down 17 percent) at #2. The romantic melodrama stars Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear, and Liam Hemsworth.

At #3, Alice in Wonderland collected $2.06 million (up 8 percent). Its cumulative domestic total currently stands at $301.5 million. Tim Burton's fantasy adventure stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack, was #4 with $1.42 million (up 6 percent), while at #5 Diary of a Wimpy Kid earned $1.24 million (up 13 percent).

The much-panned Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter followed at #6 with $1.14 million (up 13 percent). At a distant #7, Jay Baruchel's teen comedy She's Out of My League drew $413,000 (up 9 percent).

Next was the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio suspense drama Shutter Island, up one spot with $333,000 (up 2 percent), followed by the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone with $320,000 (down 3 percent).

Rounding out the top thirteen were the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic actioner Repo Men ($250,000, down 19 percent), James Cameron's Avatar ($223,000, down 3 percent), America Ferrera's Our Family Wedding ($200,000, down 2.8 percent), and Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer ($155,000, down 10 percent).

At #14, Remember Me, Allen Coulter's romantic drama starring Robert Pattinson a.k.a. Rob Pattinson to his legions of fans, grossed $149,000 (up 5 percent).

Photos: The Last Song (Walt Disney); How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation); Alice in Wonderland (Disney Enterprises)

According to Magnolia Pictures, “The Oscar® Nominated Shorts Films of 2010” crossed the $1 Million mark at the North American box office today. Released annually by Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures, the program was created five years ago so audiences could check out the ten animated and live action Academy Award-nominated shorts in theaters at the time of the Oscar ceremony.

As quoted in the Magnolia Pictures press release, Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International, says that “audiences for the Oscar-nominated shorts jumped by 52 percent in the short space of a year and more than 1000 percent in 5 years … For the first time ever these films are also currently available on cable systems through Movies On Demand.”

As per the Magnolia release, the program is entering its seventh weekend in selected cinemas across the US. To find a theater near you, visit www.shortshd.com/theoscarshorts.

It is also available through iN DEMAND to US cable audiences via Movies On Demand (MOD).  This year's program includes all the nominees as well as the Academy Award winners for Best Live Action short, New Tenants (photo), and best Animated short, Logorama.

April 1

The Last Song, not How to Train Your Dragon as previously reported*, was the top box office performer in North America on Wednesday, when it opened at 2,673 screens. Starring Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear, the family melodrama earned $5.125 million, for a $1,915 per-screen average.

Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and America Ferrera, How to Train Your Dragon was the #2 movie. The animated 3D fantasy grossed $4.534 million (down 5.6 percent), according to Box Office Mojo.

At #3, Alice in Wonderland collected $1.90 million (down 6.3 percent). Its cumulative total was $299.4 million, which means that Tim Burton's fantasy adventure is probably crossing the $300 million mark at this time.

Alice in Wonderland stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack, was #4 with $1.35 million (down 10.2 percent), while at #5 Diary of a Wimpy Kid collected $1.09 million (down 11 percent).

The much-panned Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter was right behind with $1.01 million (down 11.2 percent). At a distant #7, Jay Baruchel's teen comedy She's Out of My League took in $380K (-7.9 percent).

Next was the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone with $331K (-13.9 percent), followed by the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio suspense drama Shutter Island, up one spot with $328K (-3.5 percent).

Rounding out the top thirteen were the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic actioner Repo Men ($306K, down 16 percent), James Cameron's Avatar ($223,000, down 3 percent), America Ferrera's Our Family Wedding ($205K, down 8.5 percent), Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer ($159,000, down 10 percent).

Out of the top twelve for the first time, Robert Pattinson's romantic drama Remember Me grossed $143K following a steep 36.2 percent drop in attendance.

* My source had been Box Office Mojo's daily box office page, which was updated – with the Last Song figures – after my initial post.

Photos: How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation); Alice in Wonderland (Disney Enterprises)

Robert Pattinson's Remember Me had its steepest drop, down 36.1 percent, on Wednesday, grossing only $143K at #14 on the domestic box office chart, according to Box Office Mojo. Although it has been holding on despite mostly unfriendly reviews, the romantic drama has gone down four slots since last Friday, when it was #10. Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer took its place at #13 yesterday. (The Miley Cyrus vehicle The Last Song opened at #1 on Wednesday, pushing every other film down one slot.)

Considering its very low per-screen average, a paltry $74 at 1,935 sites, Remember Me should be shedding a number of screens later this week even if there's a major surge in attendance today.

To date, Remember Me has grossed a total of $17.6 million. It'll probably end its run with about $20 million – but with some difficulty. Summit Entertainment will get about half of that amount.

Photo: Remember Me (Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment)

How to Train Your Dragon flying dragons Harry Potter'How to Train Your Dragon': Flying dragons reminiscent of 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.'

Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon' has solid but hardly phenomenal debut

March 29, '10, update: Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, and featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and America Ferrera, DreamWorks Animation 3D entry How to Train Your Dragon took in $43.73 million at the North American box office this weekend (March 26–28, '10) according to studio figures.

How to Train Your Dragon boasted a $10,785 per-theater average at 4,055 sites. Budgeted at a reported $165 million, the 3D-boosted animated feature had a perfectly acceptable though hardly phenomenal opening. Having said that, How to Train Your Dragon will likely have trouble matching its hefty production costs at the North American box office.

'Alice in Wonderland' holds up

As found at Box Office Mojo, Alice in Wonderland collected $17.7 million at no. 2 – down 49 percent from the week before. That's not bad at all, considering that Tim Burton's fantasy adventure lost hundreds of 3D venues this past weekend.

Alice in Wonderland's U.S. and Canada total currently stands at $293.5 million. It'll probably cross the $300 million mark on either Tuesday or Wednesday, a couple of days later than I'd initially predicted. (See further below.) The 3D fantasy loosely based on Lewis Carroll's work stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

'Hot Tub Time Machine' malfunctions, 'The Bounty Hunter' surprisingly sturdy

Directed by Steve Pink, Hot Tub Time Machine disappointed with a so-so $14.02 million debut. Starring John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, and Clark Duke, the MGM comedy may not even match is relatively modest $36 million budget at the domestic box office.

Since as a rule of thumb studios/distributors keep about 50-55 percent of domestic box office grosses, if Hot Tub Time Machine is to earn MGM a profit – especially when taking into account marketing and distribution costs – that will have be generated by way of the overseas market and ancillary revenues.

Starring Jennifer Aniston and How to Train Your Dragon voice actor Gerard Butler, the romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter earned $12 million at no. 4. That's a pretty good amount – down 40 percent from last weekend – for a movie that has been hounded by highly negative reviews. To date, The Bounty Hunter, which cost $40 million, has grossed $38.8 million.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was next in line with $10.1 million, about 15 percent less than early estimates indicated. The kiddie flick's cume is $35.7 million. Featuring Zachary Gordon, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has already covered its $15 million production budget and may end up in the black at the North American box office even after marketing and distribution expenses are tallied. That's rare these days.

Universal's two box office bombs

At no. 6, She's Out of My League drew in $3.51 million, a mid-level 39 percent drop from last week. To date, the Jay Baruchel-Alice Eve teen comedy has grossed $25.6 million. The film was budgeted at a reported $20 million.

Next was the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone with $3.38 million, down 45 percent. The $100 million Universal production has grossed a mere $30.4 million to date.

The Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio mystery thriller Shutter Island, which also features Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, and Michelle Williams, grossed $3.18 million at no. 8, following a relatively low 33 percent drop. Total to date $120.6 million. Budget: $80 million.

At no. 9, down from no. 4 last weekend, the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic action thriller Repo Men earned only $3.01 million. Universal's $32 million production lost 50 percent of its business from a week ago. Total to date: $11.3 million. Repo Men has become the studio's second flop in a row.

The no. 10 movie was another Forest Whitaker effort, Our Family Wedding, which pulled in $2.35 million (down 41 percent). For a movie not aimed at children or teenagers, Our Family Wedding performs surprisingly well on weekends, always going up a spot or two on the box office chart. To date, the comedy also featuring How to Train Your Dragon voice actress America Ferrera has grossed $16.7 million.

'Avatar' no longer among Top Ten

Avatar, now out of the Top Ten according to Sunday's estimates, was no. 11 with $2.04 million. At the beginning of its 15th week, James Cameron's 3D sci-fier has amassed a grand domestic total of $740.4 million.

If it's true that Avatar cost about $200 million to produce and $150 million to market and distribute – studios can easily downplay (or exaggerate) these figures if they so choose – then Avatar's North American box office earnings have already covered its costs (or are very close to doing that).

Robert Pattinson Remember Me movie weekendRobert Pattinson 'Remember Me' movie: Weekend flop, weekday okay.

'Remember Me': Weak weekend performer

At no. 12, Robert Pattinson's Remember Me earned $1.93 million, down an acceptable 42 percent from last weekend. Curiously, when compared to most other movies Remember Me actually does better on weekdays than on weekends.

The romantic drama was no. 10 on Friday, but according to current estimates it had only a minor surge on Saturday and did poor business on Sunday. That has been the film's pattern since it opened two weeks ago. A relatively weak weekend, but then on weekdays it goes up a spot or two on the chart.

To date, Remember Me has brought in $17.1 million, or about $1 million more than its production cost. It'll probably earn another $3-$5 million in the next couple of weeks, ending its run in the low $20 million range. That's not bad at all for a movie that at first looked like it was going to disappear within the week.

'The Ghost Writer': Made for the international market?

At no. 13, Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer grossed $1.65 million, down only 20 percent from last week. Total to date: $9.19 million. Budget: $45 million.

The Ghost Writer will likely earn its producers a profit, but only when international and ancillary revenues are tallied. In fact, The Ghost Writer is the sort of movie that seems to have been made with specific segments of the international market in mind.

Films with adult themes – unless they have a major star and a strong studio push (and that's no guarantee, e.g., Green Zone) – haven't been doing well at all at the North American box office, which apparently continues to survive thanks to 12-year-olds (or those with the mindset of 12-year-olds) and their parents, guardians, and/or nannies.

In The Ghost Writer cast:

Ewan McGregor. Pierce Brosnan. Olivia Williams. Kim Cattrall. James Belushi. Jeff Burrell. Robert Pugh.

Best Actor Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom, 2001).

Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, 1980).

Veteran Eli Wallach (The Victors, The Godfather: Part III).

Movies in limited release: Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic down alarmingly

A holdover from last week, the Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic The Runaways dropped an alarming 43 percent, collecting only $455,000 at 237 North American screens this past weekend. Average per screen: a paltry $1,920.

Here's wondering what's going to happen when The Runaways opens wide in April. The film's total to date is $1.58 million.

The silver lining: much like Robert Pattinson's Remember Me, The Runaways will probably do much better on home video and pay-per-view. Twilight fans may not be willing to go to a movie theater and shell out $12 to watch Pattinson or Stewart in off-beat roles, but they may well be willing to catch them on the small screen.

Chloe Amanda Seyfried Julianne Moore'Chloe': Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore play dangerously.

Amanda Seyfried-Julianne Moore combo disappoints

At 350 screens, Atom Egoyan's Chloe, starring Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried, and Liam Neeson, grossed a disappointing $900,000, or a quite low $2,573 per location.

The Noah Baumbach-Ben Stiller comedy Greenberg did okay for itself, grossing $1.02 million at 181 screens; its per-theater average was $5,642. For comparison's sake: Three weeks ago, Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer had a per-theater average of $8,769 at 147 sites. Ticket prices were lower then as well.

At 44 screens, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did well with $344,000 and a per-theater average of $7,761. The Swedish mystery thriller stars Noomi Rapace as a computer hacker who helps a disgraced journalist (Michael Nyqvist) crack a four-decade-old murder.

Toplining Tahar Rahim, Jacques Audiard's A Prophet is losing steam in a market that for all purposes allows only big-budget Hollywood productions – or movies with tons of critics' awards – to prosper. The well-received prison drama pulled in $145,000 for a total of $1.32 million.

Bong Joon-ho's also well-received Mother, starring Kim Hye-ja in the title role, brought in only $81,000 at 38 screens. Total to date: $215,000.

Marco Bellocchio's Vincere, with Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi, earned $48,000 at 13 screens. Total to date: $78,000.

Still out there:

  • Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon: $35,000. Total: $2.023 million.
  • Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces, starring Penélope Cruz: $23,000. Total: $4.758 million.
  • Tomm Moore and co-director Nora Twomey's animated The Secret of Kells: $16,000. Total: $117,000.
  • Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's Ajami: $12,000. Total: $444,000.

'How to Train Your Dragon' Friday debut more modest than expected

March 27 p.m. update: DreamWorks Animation's new 3D feature How to Train Your Dragon grossed an estimated $12.2 million – a $3,009 per screen average – on Friday (March 26), according to Box Office Mojo. That's more than $1 million less than early estimates indicated. (See further below.)

Will the film match the $47.5 million prediction found at Deadline.com last night? That's still possible, considering that revenues for kiddie flicks such as How to Train Your Dragon tend to zoom up on Saturday and Sunday.

Alice in Wonderland Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter Mairi Ella Challen'Alice in Wonderland': Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter attempts to develop Alice's (Mairi Ella Challen) innate artistic qualities.

'Alice in Wonderland' no longer tops

At no. 2 for the first time since it opened three weeks ago, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland collected $4.7 million – down 53 percent from the week before. That amount is also a hefty $1.5 million less than stated in early reports.

It's now unclear when exactly Alice in Wonderland will cross the $300 million mark. As a kiddie flick, revenues should soar today and tomorrow – as they have in the past. But it's highly unlikely the 3D film will reach $300 million by Sunday even with the assistance of higher ticket prices. Chances are that milestone will be crossed either Monday or Tuesday next week.

'Hot Tub Time Machine' no 'The Hangover'

Hot Tub Time Machine will apparently underperform as predicted late last night. At no. 3, the MGM comedy starring John Cusack took in an estimated $4.55 million on Friday. Hot Tub Time Machine may thus end up grossing only $13.5 million for the weekend, when most initial predictions had it pegged at around $20 million.

At no. 4, the Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter earned $4 million. That's a perfectly acceptable drop – 47 percent – for a movie that has been widely derided. Its estimated weekend take is $12.5 million.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was next with $2.9 million. Figures will most likely improve on Saturday and Sunday, enough for it to gross an estimated weekend total of $11.5 million.

'How to Train Your Dragon' flying high, but not too high

March 27 a.m. update: How to Train Your Dragon will apparently be settling for halfway between a solid opening and an excellent opening. The DreamWorks Animation 3D feature scored an estimated $13.5 million on Friday. A rough estimate for the weekend, as per Deadline.com, currently stands at $47.5 million. Predictions had ranged from $30+ to $60 million or whereabouts.

Alice in Wonderland, for its part, is holding up stronger than expected, grossing about $6.2 million on Friday for an estimated $22.5 million by Sunday night. Most box office clairvoyants were predicting $17-18 million, especially considering that Alice has just been booted out of hundreds of 3D theaters.

If this rough estimate is on target – $298 million cume by Sunday night – Alice in Wonderland will cross the $300 million mark on Monday.

The MGM comedy Hot Tub Time Machine may end up underperforming: an estimated $4.5 million on Friday and only $13.5 million for the weekend. Most had been predicting something around $20 million, which is what other recent comedies of that type have collected on their debut weekend.

'Remember Me' surprisingly ahead of 'Avatar'

Surprisingly, according to Friday estimates the no. 10 movie on the domestic box office chart wasn't James Cameron's Avatar but Robert Pattinson's Remember Me. Both films lost about 300 screens each and Avatar's 3D tickets are costlier; even so, Pattinson's romantic drama held the lead.

Things will surely change on Saturday and Sunday, as Avatar receipts usually go way up on the weekend proper. Unless Pattinson's fans suddenly decide to flood U.S. and Canadian theaters, James Cameron's 3D sci-fier will likely be among the Top Ten by the time final weekend figures are tallied.

Remember Me took in 690,000, down a mid-level 44 percent. That's good when compared to its much steeper drop-off rate last weekend. We'll see how the film performs on the next two days.

The Forest Whitaker-America Ferrera comedy Our Family Wedding was no. 11 with $655,000, and only then came Avatar at no. 12 with $535,000, down 49 percent from last week.

Hot Tub Time Machine John Cusack The Hangover'Hot Tub Time Machine': John Cusack in malfunctioning 'The Hangover'-like comedy.

Weekend debuts: 'How to Train Your Dragon,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine,' movie ticket price increases

March 26, '10: How to Train Your Dragon opens today in North America. Expect box office receipts to soar even if actual attendance drops.

Thanks to the success of James Cameron's Avatar and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, 3D venues have decided that the Great Recession is over, spring is here, and it's time to cash in on the Good Times.

That means an additional $2 to $3 per ticket for 3D presentations – though the price hike will actually take place across the board. In other words, 2D movies will be affected as well.

At this rate, next spring a 2D matinee will cost about as much as an IMAX-3D ticket for Avatar last winter. (I hope the National Association of Theater Owners will be revising its “average” ticket prices for 2010, currently at $7.61, in the very, very near future.)

How high will 'Dragon' fly? How hot will 'Tub Time Machine' get?

How to Train Your Dragon is expected to dominate the domestic box office this weekend, though how strongly is yet unclear ($30+-$60 million). At Box Office Mojo, Brandon Gray has pointed out that dragon movies (Eragon, Dragonheart) haven't fared all that great in the past; which is kinda strange, considering that dinosaurs – i.e., dragons without wings or fire-spitting tongues – have usually acquitted themselves quite well.

The weekend's other major domestic release is Hot Tub Time Machine, supposed to be a kindred spirit to last year's sleeper blockbuster The Hangover. Starring John Cusack, Hot Tub Time Machine is MGM's first release since Fame last September. Box Office predictors are expecting a $17-$22 million debut.

'Alice in Wonderland' soon to pass $300 million

Although Alice in Wonderland will be crossing the $300 million mark sometime in the next few days, it will be severely impaired by a drastic cut on its number of 3D venues, which have been taken over by How to Train Your Dragon. Predictors are expecting $17-18 million for the weekend.

A glut in the market keeps making 3D exhibitors dump still-profitable films for new releases. Exhibitors should keep on doing well (even though first/second weekend box office percentage shares generally favor distributors), but the 3D films' producers (and, quite likely, distributors) probably aren't too happy with the current set-up.

'Alice in Wonderland' to cross $300 million milestone

March 26, 10, update: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland collected $2.574 million at the domestic box office on Thursday, March 25. To date, Alice in Wonderland's total gross stands at $275.8 million. The 3D fantasy tale starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway will probably cross the $300 million mark sometime Saturday, or Sunday afternoon at the latest.

Another update: I should have taken into account that Alice in Wonderland is losing hundreds of 3D venues this weekend. Tim Burton's 3D fantasy will definitely cross the $300 million mark in the next few days, but that may happen only sometime next week.

'The Bounty Hunter,' 'Green Zone' yet to reach $30 million mark

In other domestic box office news, according to Box Office Mojo Andy Tennant's much-panned romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter grossed $1.4 million at no. 2 on Thursday, after jumping 10 percent in relation to the previous day. After seven days, the $40 million production starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler has yet to reach the $30 million mark.

Thor Freudenthal's Diary of a Wimpy Kid, featuring Zachary Gordon, was up 12 percent, earning $893,000 at no. 3. As usual for kiddie flicks, after lying low all week long following an 80 percent Sunday-to-Monday drop Diary of a Wimpy Kid is poised for a major surge in business on the weekend proper.

The Jay Baruchel-Alice Eve teen comedy She's Out of My League was next with with $572,000 (up 6 percent), followed by the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon flop Green Zone $511,000 (down 3 percent). After two weeks, Universal's $100 million Iraq War-related production has yet to reach the $30 million mark.

'Avatar' surges nearly 20 percent

At no. 6, the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic action thriller Repo Men raked in $478,000. After a week out, Universal's $30 million production has collected a measly $8.29 million.

Next in line was James Cameron's Avatar with $416,000 – up one spot after a 19 percent surge. The 3D sci-fier starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver was followed by the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller Shutter Island with $413,000 at no. 8.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me Box office disappointment budgetRobert Pattinson in 'Remember Me': Box office disappointment, but budget within reach.

'Remember Me' grosses to match budget this weekend?

Robert Pattinson's romantic melodrama Remember Me was no. 9 with $307,000 (up 13 percent). After two weeks, its total stands at $15.1 million. If things continue as they are, sometime this weekend Remember Me's grosses will match its $16 million budget.

That's good, but remember that studios only get about 50-55 percent of a film's take at the box office. In order to pay for itself, Remember Me will need the money coming in from overseas, where the romantic drama will at least match – probably surpass – its North American box office gross.

Besides Robert Pattinson, Remember Me features Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Tate Ellington, Peyton List, Ruby Jerins, and Lena Olin.

'The Ghost Writer,' 'Brooklyn's Finest' on way out

Rounding out the Top Twelve on Thursday were:

  • Our Family Wedding with $242,000.
    Cast: Forest Whitaker. America Ferrera.
  • The Ghost Writer with $186,000.
    Dir.: Roman Polanski.
    Cast: Ewan McGregor. Pierce Brosnan. Kim Cattrall. Olivia Williams. Tom Wilkinson. Timothy Hutton. James Belushi. Veteran Eli Wallach (How the West Was Won, The Good the Bad and the Ugly).
  • Brooklyn's Finest with $150,000.
    Dir.: Antoine Fuqua.
    Cast: Richard Gere. Ethan Hawke. Don Cheadle. Ellen Barkin. Will Patton. Lily Taylor. Wesley Snipes.

A few more Thursday figures:

  • The documentary Hubble 3D raked in $87,000.
  • The Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic The Runaways took in $79,000.
  • The Noah Baumbach-Ben Stiller collaboration Greenberg scored $14,000.

 

Alice in Wonderland castle image: Disney Enterprises.

Avatar Pandora image: ILM / 20th Century Fox.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

 

Image of How to Train Your Dragon flying dragons: DreamWorks Animation.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me movie image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried Chloe movie image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter and Mairi Ella Challen Alice in Wonderland image: Disney Enterprises.

John Cusack Hot Tub Time Machine image: MGM.

Avatar James Cameron Sam Worthington'Avatar' set with James Cameron and Sam Worthington.

Avatar inflation-adjusted domestic box office chart

James Cameron's socially conscious sci-fi/fantasy/adventure mix Avatar hasn't been the top grosser at the North American box office for nearly two months. Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver, Avatar was initially dethroned by the Channing Tatum / Amanda Seyfried tearjerker Dear John, followed by Garry Marshall's all-star Valentine's Day, the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller Shutter Island, and, for the last three weekends, Tim Burton's 3D extravaganza Alice in Wonderland.

Avatar is still doing okay business, but it lost quite a bit of steam globally after Alice in Wonderland took hold of hundreds of IMAX and 3D screens. Adding insult to injury, Tim Burton's fantasy adventure starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp broke Avatar's domestic IMAX record a mere two and a half months after the sci-fier's release.

Avatar worldwide box office

Still, Avatar remains at the top of the all-time box office charts. As of this past Sunday, March 21, Avatar had grossed $736.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to $1.931 billion internationally (up to March 14) for a staggering worldwide total of $2.667 billion.

On the all-time, inflation-adjusted domestic box office chart, which is supposed to more accurately reflect the number of tickets a film has sold, Box Office Mojo estimates that Avatar is no. 14. (For comparison's sake, James Cameron's own Titanic is no. 6; Victor Fleming's Gone with the Wind remains a distant no. 1.) Four weeks ago, Avatar was no. 15, right behind Richard Marquand's 1983 Star Wars sequel Return of the Jedi. In other words, Avatar has gone up a single slot in a month.

The big blue Na'vi have just about had it, at least for the time being. In about a week or so, Avatar will probably be gone from North America's top-ten box office chart.

And if things continue as they've been in recent weeks, Avatar will need at least two more weeks to reach the no. 13 slot. That's currently occupied by William Wyler's multiple Oscar-winning epic Ben-Hur, which raked in the equivalent of $745.7 million (in 2010 dollars) back in 1959. Slightly ahead is another Star Wars sequel, Irvin Kershner's The Empire Strikes Back (1980), with $747.1 million.

Chances are Avatar will end its initial run at no. 12, though with some luck it may reach no. 11. That slot is currently occupied by Disney's 101 Dalmatians (which has had multiple rereleases since it first came out in 1961) with an adjusted cume of $760.3 million.

With $829.4 million at no. 10, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (which has also had multiple rereleases since 1937) is totally unreachable.

Avatar's only chance to surpass Snow White and thus become one of the all-time top-ten movies in North America is if Fox's planned late-year rerelease becomes a monumental hit.

Now, if 3D/IMAX surcharges and currency fluctuations (for the international box office tallies) are taken into account – to reflect actual ticket sales – the overall picture would change quite dramatically. Avatar ticket costs have ranged from $9 to $16.50 or whereabouts, or between 28.5 percent and 40 percent more than ticket prices for 2D movies. [See Avatar vs. Titanic: International Box Office.]

Box-office factors

Once again, bear in mind that the figures found on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart are approximations based on “average” ticket prices provided by the National Association of Theater Owners.

A thoroughly accurate calculation of a film's popularity at the box office — as in, the number of tickets sold and its ratio to the population size at the time of the film's release — would be based on where a movie made most of its money, e.g., a top-dollar New York house, in thousands of cheap small-town theaters, at children's matinees, or at 3D/IMAX theaters that charge a premium.

It's also worth remembering that population increases, changes in movie-going demographics, and the growth of entertainment alternatives should all be taken into consideration when comparing the box office performance of movies from different eras. And that many of the movies found on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart had one or more rereleases throughout the decades. And finally, that major international markets such as China and Russia were all but impenetrable to Hollywood movies until about a decade ago.

James Cameron / Sam Worthington / Avatar photo: Mark Fellman / 20th Century Fox.

Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington in James Cameron's Avatar

Avatar, currently at #14 on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart, would fall behind nearly 20 more movies if 3D/IMAX surcharges are factored into its box office grosses. As I've explained before, Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart is supposed to better reflect the number of tickets a movie has sold.

In Avatar's case, the 3D/IMAX premiums in North America can add between 25-40 percent to the sci-fier's grosses when compared to 2D movies that sold the same number of tickets. According to The Hollywood Reporter, approximately 80 percent of Avatar's domestic gross and about two-thirds of its international gross have come from 3D and 3D/IMAX screenings.

So, out of its $736.9 million earned in North America as of Sunday, March 21, $147.4 million (20 percent) came from 2D venues and $589.5 million (80 percent) from 3D/IMAX sites charging premiums. Now, deduct one third of the latter amount and you'll place Avatar on a par with 2D movies in numbers of tickets sold. Approximately $196.5 million would be taken out (of the $589.5 million figure), leaving Avatar with a 2D-equivalent total of $540.4 million.

In (approximate) number of tickets sold, James Cameron's sci-fi epic would then find itself at #32, a couple of million ahead of the 1984 supernatural comedy Ghostbusters with $538.2 million and slightly behind DreamWorks' 2004 animated feature Shrek 2 with $540.6 million.

If things continue as they are, Avatar will likely end its initial run at #30, sandwiched between two old Disney releases: The Jungle Book (1967) with $560.7 million and Sleeping Beauty (1959) with $553 million.

Once again, bear in mind that those are approximations based on “average” ticket prices provided by the National Association of Theater Owners. (Box Office Mojo has come up with its own estimated average — $7.61 — for 2010.) An accurate calculation of a film's popularity at the box office — as in, the number of tickets sold and its ratio to the population size at the time of the movie's release — would be based on where the movie made most of its money, e.g., a top-dollar New York house, thousands of cheaper small-town theaters, 3D/IMAX screenings, or kiddie matinees.

Avatar's ticket prices, for instance, cost much more than the purported $7.61 “average” for 2010. In fact, most releases — whether new or old — that earn(ed) most of their revenues in major urban centers are at an advantage on those charts, whereas movies that did well in smaller towns or those made for children (lower prices for kids, matinees) are at a disadvantage.

It's also worth remembering that population increases, changes in movie-going demographics, changes in movie distribution (movies didn't open at 3,000 — or even 300 — screens until the mid-70s), and the growth of entertainment alternatives (home video, cable television, pay-per-view options) should all be taken into consideration when comparing the box office success of movies from different eras. And that many of the movies found on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart had one or more rereleases throughout the years.

The effect of piracy on a movie's box office performance remains highly debatable. It all depends on the type of movie (would you rather watch Avatar on your computer screen or at a 3D movie house?), the quality of the pirated material (high-def. copies vs. crummy reproductions), and where the copying is taking place (Beverly Hills or Lagos or Kinshasa, where most people who'd buy 50-cent copies of Hollywood flicks wouldn't be able to afford going to the movies, anyhow).

Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox)

Avatar Pandora panoramic view'Avatar': Pandora panoramic view.

Box office: 'Avatar' vs. 'Alice in Wonderland'

Avatar vs. Gone with the Wind, Avatar vs. Titanic, or even Avatar vs. The Blind Side, another late 2009 release, are all difficult to compare. In the first two instances, James Cameron's 3D sci-fier came out in a radically different movie distribution world – not to mention the warping effect of inflationary pressures (and 3D surcharges) on ticket costs. In the last instance, the key issue is the 3D vs. 2D issue, as 3D admission prices are higher and thus help to inflate box office grosses.

Avatar vs. Alice in Wonderland, however, are easy to place side by side. Both films were released in 3D (though Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland had to be converted to the format), both are fantastical adventures, both feature relatively little-known performers in the lead (Sam Worthington, Mia Wasikowska), and both were released within a mere three months of each other.

So, below are a few comparisons. Bear in mind that Avatar has been out for 95 days; Alice in Wonderland for 18 days. Also, Alice in Wonderland has yet to open in several major international markets, including China, Japan, France, and Brazil.

Domestic gross (as of Monday, March 22, '10):

Avatar $737.2 million vs. Alice in Wonderland $268.1 million.

Update (2016): Avatar domestic cume: $760.5 million (including one reissue); Alice in Wonderland: $334.19 million.

International gross (as of Monday, March 22, '10):

Avatar 1.931 billion vs. Alice in Wonderland $300 million.

Update (2016): Avatar international cume: $2.027 billion; Alice in Wonderland: $691.27 million.

Worldwide gross (as of Monday, March 22, '10):

Avatar $2.668 billion vs. Alice in Wonderland $568.1 million.

Update (2016): Avatar worldwide cume: $2.787,9 billion; Alice in Wonderland: $1.025,4 billion.

Domestic vs. international box office (percentages):

Avatar (27.6 percent vs. 72.4 percent) vs. Alice in Wonderland (47.2 percent vs. 52.8 percent).

Update (2016): Avatar (27.3 percent vs. 72.7 percent) vs. Alice in Wonderland (32.6 percent vs. 67.4 percent).

Opening weekend:

Avatar $77 million vs. Alice in Wonderland $116.1 million.

Average per screen on opening weekend:

Avatar $22,313 vs. Alice in Wonderland $31,143.

Number of weekends at the top of the box office chart:

Avatar 8 vs. Alice in Wonderland 3.

Third weekend gross:

Avatar $68.4 million (New Year's) vs. Alice in Wonderland $34.1 million.

Drop-off by third weekend (in relation to debut weekend):

Avatar 11 percent vs. Alice in Wonderland 71 percent.

Alice in Wonderland castle BurtonWorld'Alice in Wonderland' castle: BurtonWorld.

'Alice in Wonderland' no. 45 on all-time domestic box office chart

Alice in Wonderland is currently at no. 45 on Box Office Mojo's all-time domestic box office chart – not adjusted for inflation/3D/IMAX surcharges. In other words, that chart doesn't indicate each film's ranking in relation to the actual number of tickets sold. Not even close.

On Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart, Alice in Wonderland is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, that particular chart stops at no. 100. The lowest grosser on there is the 1986 Tom Cruise actioner Top Gun with $362.2 million.

How much further up the (non-adjusted) chart Alice in Wonderland will go remains to be seen. Each weekend, it has been losing 45-50 percent of the previous weekend's take. The 3D fantasy will surely cross the $300 million mark, but whether it'll reach $400 million (or even $350 million) at the U.S. and Canada box office is debatable.

Feb. 11

Avatar was dethroned this past weekend by the Channing Tatum-Amanda Seyfried tearjerker Dear John, but recovered the top spot at the domestic box office on Monday and remained there on Tuesday. After 54 days in release, James Cameron's sci-fi extravaganza has grossed $633.6 million. Officially, it's broken box office records just about everywhere, from Manhattan and Manchester all the way to Mongolia and Mars. Of course, those are box office figures – which often go up thanks to higher admission prices – not number of tickets sold. As I've mentioned before, if inflation, 3D/IMAX premium surcharges, and dollar fluctuations (for the international box office tallies) are taken into account the overall picture changes rather dramatically.

Boxofficemojo.com estimates that Avatar is now #20 on the all-time domestic box office chart adjusted for inflation, or six slots higher than it was ten days ago. It's just ahead of Disney's Fantasia (1940), which has had numerous rereleases, and about $12 million behind George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).

If things continue as they've been – a decrease in revenues of around 15 percent each weekend – Avatar will gross another $4 million by Thursday night and about $19 million over the three-day weekend for a total of $23 million. By Monday, Avatar should be either #17 or #18 on the inflation-adjusted all-time box office chart, having passed both Star Wars and Mike Nichols' The Graduate, while (figuratively speaking) running neck and neck against Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993).

Still some ways ahead of Avatar will be Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), starring Harrison Ford (above); George Roy Hill's Best Picture Oscar winner The Sting (1973), with Paul Newman and Robert Redford; Richard Marquand's Return of the Jedi (1983), also with Harrison Ford; William Wyler's multiple Oscar winner Ben-Hur (1959), with Charlton Heston; and another Harrison Ford movie, Irvin Kershner's The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Once again, bear in mind that those are approximations based on “average” ticket prices provided by the National Association of Theater Owners. (Box Office Mojo came up with its own estimated average — $7.61* — for 2010.) An accurate calculation of a film's popularity at the box office — as in, the number of tickets sold (and its ratio to the population size at the time of the film's release) — would be based on where a movie made most of its money, e.g., a top-dollar New York house, in thousands of cheap small-town theaters, or at 3D/IMAX theaters that charge a premium (Avatar ticket prices range from $9 to $16.50 or whereabouts, or between 28.5 percent and 40 percent more than ticket prices for 2D movies.)

It's also worth remembering that population increases, changes in movie-going demographics, and the growth of entertainment alternatives (home video, cable television, pay-per-view options) should all be taken into consideration when comparing the box office success of movies from different eras. And that many of the movies found on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart had one or more rereleases throughout the decades.

The effect of piracy on a movie's box office performance remains highly debatable. It all depends on the type of movie (would you rather watch Avatar on your computer screen or at a 3D movie house?), the quality of the pirated material (high-def. copies vs. crummy reproductions), and where the copying is taking place (Beverly Hills or, say, Lagos or Kinshasa, where most people who'd buy 50-cent copies of Hollywood flicks wouldn't be able to afford going to the movies, anyhow).

* Instead of the previously reported $7.35

Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox); Raiders of the Lost Ark (Paramount)

If 3D/IMAX surcharges are factored in, Avatar would drop quite a bit on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart. As I've explained in the comments section of a previous Avatar post, the 3D/IMAX premiums can add somewhere between 25-30 and 40 percent to Avatar's grosses. Most other movies, including the vast majority of recent releases, don't have that sort of advantage — certainly not to Avatar's extent, as 80 percent of its domestic gross has come from 3D and/or IMAX screenings.

Even if you opt for the lower end of the scale and subtract only 25 percent from Avatar's earnings – in order to better estimate where James Cameron's sci-fi adventure would rank in number of tickets sold – the film would have earned to date (Feb. 9) $475.2 million, placing it at #51, ahead of Peter Jackson's 2003 fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and a couple of million dollars behind Leo McCarey's 1945 comedy-drama The Bells of St. Mary's, made in the days when Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman were two of Hollywood's top box office stars.

If you opt for a mid-level percentage, or about 33 percent, Avatar's “2D-equivalent revenues” would be $422.4 million, which would place it at #71, slightly ahead of David Lean's 1962 political epic Lawrence of Arabia (above, and with which Avatar has thematic elements in common) and slightly behind Steven Spielberg's 1977 sci-fi drama Close Encounters of the Third Kind (including the 1980 rerelease).

Once again, bear in mind that those are approximations based on “average” ticket prices provided by the National Association of Theater Owners. (Box Office Mojo came up with its own estimated average — $7.61* — for 2010.) An accurate calculation of a film's popularity at the box office — as in, the number of tickets sold (and its ratio to the population size at the time of the movie's release) — would be based on where the movie made most of its money, e.g., a top-dollar New York house or in thousands of cheaper small-town theaters.

Avatar's ticket prices, for instance, cost much more than the purported $7.61 “average” for 2010. In fact, most releases – whether new or old – that earn(ed) most of their revenues in major urban centers are at an advantage on those charts, whereas movies that did well in smaller towns or those made for children (lower prices for kids, matinees) are at a disadvantage.

It's also worth remembering that population increases, changes in movie-going demographics, and the growth of entertainment alternatives (home video, cable television, pay-per-view options) should all be taken into consideration when comparing the box office success of movies from different eras. And that many of the movies found on Box Office Mojo's inflation-adjusted chart had one or more rereleases throughout the years.

And finally, Avatar is still bringing in lots of cash and will probably keep doing so in the next few weeks. More "inflation-adjusted" updates will be posted in the near future.

* Instead of $7.35 as previously reported.

Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox); Lawrence of Arabia (Columbia)

The Bounty Hunter Gerard Butler über-macho'The Bounty Hunter' with Gerard Butler as another über-macho character.

Box office: 'Alice in Wonderland' leaves 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' 'The Bounty Hunter' far behind

March 21 update: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland grossed an estimated $34.5 million at the North America box office this weekend (March 19–21, '10), easily fending off new entries Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Bounty Hunter, the latter starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. Thus, Alice in Wonderland has managed to top the box office chart for the third consecutive weekend.

The 3D fantasy adventure featuring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway dropped a perfectly acceptable 45 percent from a week ago. To a large extent thanks to costlier 3D/IMAX tickets Alice in Wonderland has earned an impressive $265.8 million to date.

Also in the Alice in Wonderland cast:

Crispin Glover. Matt Lucas. Voices: Stephen Fry. Barbara Windsor. Michael Gough. Michael Sheen.

March 22 box office actuals: Alice in Wonderland actually scored a slightly more modest $34.18 million over the weekend.

'Wimpy Kid' beats Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler

Due to solid Saturday and Sunday business, when parents feel coerced to take their children to the movies, Diary of a Wimpy Kid landed at no. 2 with $21.8 million and a good $7,085 average at 3,077 locations as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Directed by Thor Freudenthal, and featuring Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron, the $15 million-budgeted kiddie flick focuses on the travails of a middle-school student.

Despite the presence of major names like Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, Andy Tennant's The Bounty Hunter had to settle for third place with an estimated $21 million. Considering how poorly received the romantic comedy has been – most critics hated it – a $6,831 per-screen average isn't bad at all.

For comparison's sake: last weekend, the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone bowed with a $4,765 per screen average, the Robert Pattinson romantic drama Remember Me posted $3,657, and the teen comedy She's Out of My League $3,307.

But even though The Bounty Hunter's debut weekend figures weren't downright poor, it's unlikely that the Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler combo will get even close to recovering its $40 million price tag at the North American box office. The movie would need to make about twice as much for the studio to break even, as exhibitors usually keep 40–50 percent of the grosses, not including marketing and distribution costs.

Also in the The Bounty Hunter cast:

Christine Baranski. Jason Sudeikis. Adam Rose. Jason Kolotouros. Peter Greene. Jeff Garlin. David Costabile.

Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull, 1980).

Best Actress Oscar nominee Carol Kane (Hester Street, 1975).

March 22 box office actuals: Diary of a Wimpy Kid did a little better than estimated, with $22.12 million. The Bounty Hunter did a little worse than estimated, collecting $20.68 million.

'Repo Men' ready for repossession

Starring two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law (supporting for The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999; lead for Cold Mountain, 2003) and Best Actor Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, 2006), Repo Men had a dismal opening at no. 4, with a mere $6.015 million and a meager $2,440 per-screen average.

Miguel Sapochnik's futuristic action thriller won't get even close to recovering its relatively modest $32 million budget – unless, that is, the international market (unlikely) and home video/pay-per-view come to the rescue.

That's more bad news for Universal, whose $100 million Green Zone has thus far grossed an underwhelming $24.7 million, and hasn't been doing all that great overseas either.

March 22 box office actuals: Repo Men drew in $6.12 million over the weekend. Don't be too surprised if by next weekend the action thriller is nowhere to be found on the Top Ten chart.

She's Out of My League Jay Baruchel Alice Eve'She's Out of My League' with Jay Baruchel as the league owner and Alice Eve as 'She.'

'She's Out of My League,' 'Green Zone'

Only slightly behind Repo Men, Jim Field Smith's She's Out of My League grossed $6.015 million (down 39 percent). The teen comedy starring Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve averaged a mediocre $2,033 per theater. Its total currently stands at $19.9 million.

The costly Green Zone dropped 58 percent from last weekend, earning $5.9 million and averaging a measly $1,985 per screen – and that's how it fell behind a not very well-received teen comedy with no stars. Total to date: $24.4 million. In a week, Green Zone will quite possibly be gone from the Top Ten chart.

March 22 update: Rounding out the top six movies on the domestic box office chart, Green Zone took in $6.11 million, thus switching places with She's Out of My League, which grossed $5.8 million.

'Avatar' still among Top Ten

At no. 7, Martin Scorsese's thriller Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams, added another $4.7 million (down 42 percent) for a cume of $115.7 million.

James Cameron's Avatar was next with $4 million (down 39 percent) and a total of $736.8 million. The 3D sci-fier starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver has been out for 14 weeks.

'Our Family Wedding' ahead of 'Remember Me'

Our Family Wedding, starring Repo Men actor Forest Whitaker and Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera, grossed more than Robert Pattinson's Remember Me even though it's playing at 600 fewer theaters.

Our Family Wedding raked in $3.8 million (down 51 percent) at no. 9 vs. the $3.3 million earned by Remember Me – which suffered the weekend's second worst drop-off among the top twelve movies: 59 percent.

Most of Robert Pattinson's Twilight Saga fans have clearly opted to stay away from a movie in which their idol gets killed. Or it could be that they only care about Pattinson as the vampire Edward Cullen.

Also in the Remember Me cast:

Emilie de Ravin. Pierce Brosnan. Chris Cooper. Lena Olin. Tate Ellington. Gregory Jbara. Peyton List. Kate Burton.

Rounding out the Top Twelve were:

  • Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer, toplining Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, with $2.1 million (up 71 percent). (More on The Ghost Writer further below.)
  • Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest, starring Richard Gere and Ethan Hawke, with $1.6 million (down 63 percent).

Among the weekend's top twelve films, Alice in Wonderland had the highest per-theater average ($9,227) followed by Diary of a Wimpy Kid ($7,085). Brooklyn's Finest had the lowest ($1,281).

Thanks to the addition of 595 screens, The Ghost Writer was the only movie among the holdovers to actually post an increase in revenues. Brooklyn's Finest suffered the steepest drop-off rate.

The Ghost Writer Roman Polanski thriller Ewan McGregor title role'The Ghost Writer': Roman Polanski thriller with Ewan McGregor in the title role.

'The Ghost Writer' goes wider for last time?

As mentioned above, Roman Polanski's thriller The Ghost Writer, winner of the Best Director Silver Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival, earned an estimated $2.1 million at the North American box office this weekend.

Playing at 819 theaters at the start of its fifth week – 595 more venues than last weekend – The Ghost Writer soared in terms of revenues, but disappointed in terms of per-screen average: only $2,564. Unless these screens are all located in really tiny theaters, that probably means the film's expansion will end at those 819 sites.

Polanski's latest has thus far brought in $6.8 million in North America. That's not bad when compared to the director's Oliver Twist ($2.08 million in 2005), but it isn't great, either, especially considering the film's remarkable first couple of weeks and the fact that it has received mostly glowing notices from U.S. critics.

For comparison's sake, the Holocaust drama The Pianist, which earned Polanski the Best Director Oscar, grossed $31.5 million in 2002. The film's star, Adrien Brody, took home that year's Best Actor Oscar.

Roman Polanski movies better appreciated internationally

Like other previous Roman Polanski efforts, The Ghost Writer will likely do much better business overseas. To date, things stand at about 50-50. But bear in mind that Oliver Twist went on to gross more than $40 million internationally, while The Pianist took in $87.5 million.

The tale of a corrupt former British prime minister (based on Tony Blair) with lots of decomposing skeletons in his past, The Ghost Writer stars the following:

Remember Me actor Pierce Brosnan. Ewan McGregor. Kim Cattrall. Timothy Hutton. Olivia Williams. Tom Wilkinson. James Belushi.

Veteran Eli Wallach (Baby Doll, The Misfits).

The Runaways Kristen Stewart Joan Jett rocker'The Runaways' with Kristen Stewart as rocker Joan Jett.

Limited release: Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning biopic disappoints

The Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning star vehicle The Runaways, the IMAX documentary Hubble 3D, the Noah Baumbach-Ben Stiller collaboration Greenberg, the Swedish crime thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Raymond De Felitta's comedy City Island, and Marco Bellocchio's historical drama Vincere were the films opening in limited release this weekend in the United States.

Among these, The Runaways posted the highest gross, an estimated $803,000 – but the rock biopic also had the highest number of theaters by far: 244. As a result, its $3,291 per screen average was – also by far – the lowest.

Although not exactly disastrous, The Runaways' average was below par especially for a movie in limited release. It certainly doesn't bode well for the Floria Sigismondi-directed effort, which opens wide in April.

At only 39 screens, Hubble 3D earned $453,000 for an $11,615 average. This particular entry, of course, has been helped by higher 3D/IMAX ticket prices.

'Greenberg' trailing only 'The Ghost Writer' average

At only three screens, Greenberg, the tale of a New Yorker who moves to Los Angeles following a mid-life crisis, grossed an impressive $120,000 for an equally impressive $40,000 per screen average. So far this year, only Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer has opened to better per-screen figures.

Does that mean Greenberg will become a major arthouse hit? Well, not necessarily. After five weeks, The Ghost Writer has taken in $6.8 million even though it's now playing at more than 800 screens. Baumbach's own Margot at the Wedding, starring Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jack Black, also opened to a huge per-screen figure ($40,517) only to cume at a paltry $1.9 million back in 2007.

'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' has solid U.S. debut, Marco Bellocchio returns

Starring 2009 European Film Award nominee Noomi Rapace as a computer hacker assisting a disgraced journalist (Michael Nyqvist) crack a decades-old case, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo grossed an impressive $340,000 at 34 screens, averaging a solid $10,000.

City Island, winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, took in $35,000 at two screens. Average per screen: $17,500, which is fine but hardly downright amazing for a movie playing at only a couple of screens. The family comedy-drama stars Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006), TV's The Good Wife actress Julianna Margulies, and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Andy Garcia (The Godfather: Part III, 1990).

At two New York houses, Marco Bellocchio's well-regarded Vincere grossed a passable $18,000, for a $9,000 average. Had it been playing at 50 or 100 screens, that average would have been pretty good. But at only two screens, it's not all that great. A drama about Benito Mussolini's mistress and son, Vincere stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi.

Alice in Wonderland mushroom psychedelic trip'Alice in Wonderland': Mushroom psychedelic trip for families.

'The Bounty Hunter' at no. 2 on Friday: Hit or miss?

March 20 update: According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, Alice in Wonderland grossed $9.9 million at the North America box office on Friday. That's quite a bit more than early reports indicated.

Alice in Wonderland fell a passable 43 percent from last Friday. In past weeks, business has surged on Saturday and has been quite strong on Sunday as well. Expect the same to happen this weekend.

At no. 2, new entry The Bounty Hunter grossed $7.65 million. Weekend estimates for this romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler have placed it at around $20-$25 million. Some may see these figures as disappointing, but they're really not bad at all for a (non-action) movie that has been mostly trashed by reviewers.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was an unexpected Friday hit. At Box Office Mojo, for instance, Ray Subers foresaw doom and gloom for the kiddie flick. Instead, Diary of a Wimpy Kid earned $7.4 million, right on the heels of the star-powered The Bounty Hunter.

Repo Men was no. 4 with only $2.2 million. Starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, the futuristic action thriller will apparently turn out to be the weekend's major flop.

'Alice in Wonderland' to keep at bay 'The Bounty Hunter,' 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' and 'Repo Men'

March 19: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland will continue to dominate the North American box office on its third weekend out. Considering that it's basically a “children's movie,” grosses should go up noticeably especially on Saturday and Sunday. That's the usual pattern for films geared to kids.

Last week, following a solid but hardly record-breaking Friday, Alice in Wonderland did extraordinary business on the weekend proper, adding nearly $63 million to the fantasy adventure's box office take.

This weekend, Nicole Sperling writes at EW.com that Alice in Wonderland's revenues will likely hover around $35 million, or a decrease of slightly less than 50 percent from a week ago. If so, Burton's most successful film to date (not accounting for inflation or higher 3D/IMAX prices) will probably cross the $300 million mark next weekend.

New entries this weekend include:

  • The Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter, which is expected to gross around $20 million despite poor reviews.
  • Thor Freudenthal's kiddie flick Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on Jeff Kinney's bestseller, with a predicted $15 million.
  • The Jude Law-Forest Whitaker thriller Repo Men, which should bring in around $10 million – not a great beginning, even for a movie that cost a relatively modest $30 million.

'Twilight' actresses Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning in limited release

Opening in limited release are:

  • The Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic The Runaways, which has earned its lead actresses quite a bit of praise.
  • The international Swedish blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a crime-horror drama along the lines of The Silence of the Lambs. (Curiously, Stewart has been mentioned in connection with the American remake).
  • Noah Baumbach's well-received Greenberg, with Ben Stiller.

Kevin Smith, Jeff Bridges on their way out

Last weekend, studio predictions were somewhat low for Alice in Wonderland and too high for both Matt Damon's Green Zone and Robert Pattinson's Remember Me.

This weekend, Kevin Smith's Cop Out, Breck Eisner's The Crazies, Chris Columbus-Logan Lerman's Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Best Actor Oscar winner Jeff Bridges' Crazy Heart will likely be gone from the Top Twelve.

 

Gerard Butler The Bounty Hunter image: Barry Wetcher / Columbia Pictures.

Alice Eve and Jay Baruchel She's Out of My League image: Darren Michaels / DreamWorks / Paramount.

Image of Ewan McGregor in the Roman Polanski thriller The Ghost Writer: Guy Farrandis / Summit Entertainment.

Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett in The Runaways: Apparition.

Alice in Wonderland mushroom image: Disney Enterprises.

Matt Damon & Robert Pattinson Movies Flop

April 2 update: Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and America Ferrera, How to Train Your Dragon was back at the top of the North American box office chart on Thursday. The animated 3D fantasy grossed $5.24 million (up 16 percent), according to Box Office Mojo.

Down one slot, The Last Song earned $4.26 million (down 17 percent) at #2. The romantic melodrama stars Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear, and Liam Hemsworth.

At #3, Alice in Wonderland collected $2.06 million (up 8 percent). Its cumulative domestic total currently stands at $301.5 million. Tim Burton's fantasy adventure stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack, was #4 with $1.42 million (up 6 percent), while at #5 Diary of a Wimpy Kid earned $1.24 million (up 13 percent).

The much-panned Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter followed at #6 with $1.14 million (up 13 percent). At a distant #7, Jay Baruchel's teen comedy She's Out of My League drew $413,000 (up 9 percent).

Next was the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio suspense drama Shutter Island, up one spot with $333,000 (up 2 percent), followed by the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone with $320K (-3.2 percent).

Rounding out the top thirteen were the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic actioner Repo Men ($250,000, down 19 percent), James Cameron's Avatar ($223,000, down 3 percent), America Ferrera's Our Family Wedding ($200,000, down 2.8 percent), and Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer ($155,000, down 10 percent).

At #14, Remember Me, Allen Coulter's romantic drama starring Robert Pattinson a.k.a. Rob Pattinson to his legions of fans, grossed $149,000 (up 5 percent).

Photos: The Last Song (Walt Disney); How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation); Alice in Wonderland (Disney Enterprises)

The New Tenants Joachim BackAccording to Magnolia Pictures, “The Oscar® Nominated Shorts Films of 2010” crossed the $1 Million mark at the North American box office today. Released annually by Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures, the program was created five years ago so audiences could check out the ten animated and live action Academy Award-nominated shorts in theaters at the time of the Oscar ceremony.

As quoted in the Magnolia Pictures press release, Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International, says that “audiences for the Oscar-nominated shorts jumped by 52 percent in the short space of a year and more than 1000 percent in 5 years … For the first time ever these films are also currently available on cable systems through Movies On Demand.”

As per the Magnolia release, the program is entering its seventh weekend in selected cinemas across the US. To find a theater near you, visit www.shortshd.com/theoscarshorts.

It is also available through iN DEMAND to US cable audiences via Movies On Demand (MOD).  This year's program includes all the nominees as well as the Academy Award winners for Best Live Action short, New Tenants (photo), and best Animated short, Logorama.

April 1

The Last Song, not How to Train Your Dragon as previously reported*, was the top box office performer in North America on Wednesday, when it opened at 2,673 screens. Starring Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear, the family melodrama earned $5.125 million, for a $1,915 per-screen average.

Featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and America Ferrera, How to Train Your Dragon was the #2 movie. The animated 3D fantasy grossed $4.534 million (down 5.6 percent), according to Box Office Mojo.

At #3, Alice in Wonderland collected $1.90 million (down 6.3 percent). Its cumulative total was $299.4 million, which means that Tim Burton's fantasy adventure is probably crossing the $300 million mark at this time.

Alice in Wonderland stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack, was #4 with $1.35 million (down 10.2 percent), while at #5 Diary of a Wimpy Kid collected $1.09 million (down 10.9 percent).

The much-panned Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter was right behind with $1.01 million (down 11.2 percent). At a distant #7, Jay Baruchel's teen comedy She's Out of My League took in $380K (-7.9 percent).

Next was the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone with $331K (-13.9 percent), followed by the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio suspense drama Shutter Island, up one spot with $328K (-3.5 percent).

Rounding out the top thirteen were the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic actioner Repo Men ($306K, down 16 percent), James Cameron's Avatar ($223K, down 3 percent), America Ferrera's Our Family Wedding ($205,000, down 8.5 percent), Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer ($159K, down 10 percent).

Out of the top twelve for the first time, Robert Pattinson's romantic drama Remember Me grossed $143K following a steep 36.2 percent drop in attendance.

* My source had been Box Office Mojo's daily box office page, which was updated – with the Last Song figures – after my initial post.

Photos: How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation); Alice in Wonderland (Disney Enterprises)

Robert Pattinson's Remember Me had its steepest drop, down 36.1 percent, on Wednesday, grossing only $143K at #14 on the domestic box office chart, according to Box Office Mojo. Although it has been holding on despite mostly unfriendly reviews, the romantic drama has gone down four slots since last Friday, when it was #10. Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer took its place at #13 yesterday. (The Miley Cyrus vehicle The Last Song opened at #1 on Wednesday, pushing every other film down one slot.)

Considering its very low per-screen average, a paltry $74 at 1,935 sites, Remember Me should be shedding a number of screens later this week even if there's a major surge in attendance today.

To date, Remember Me has grossed a total of $17.6 million. It'll probably end its run with about $20 million – but with some difficulty. Summit Entertainment will get about half of that amount.

Photo: Remember Me (Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment)

How to Train Your Dragon flying dragons Harry Potter'How to Train Your Dragon': Flying dragons reminiscent of 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.'

Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon' has solid but hardly phenomenal debut

March 29, '10, update: Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, and featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, and America Ferrera, DreamWorks Animation 3D entry How to Train Your Dragon took in $43.73 million at the North American box office this weekend (March 26–28, '10) according to studio figures.

How to Train Your Dragon boasted a $10,785 per-theater average at 4,055 sites. Budgeted at a reported $165 million, the 3D-boosted animated feature had a perfectly acceptable though hardly phenomenal opening. Having said that, How to Train Your Dragon will likely have trouble matching its hefty production costs at the North American box office.

'Alice in Wonderland' holds up

As found at Box Office Mojo, Alice in Wonderland collected $17.7 million at no. 2 – down 49 percent from the week before. That's not bad at all, considering that Tim Burton's fantasy adventure lost hundreds of 3D venues this past weekend.

Alice in Wonderland's U.S. and Canada total currently stands at $293.5 million. It'll probably cross the $300 million mark on either Tuesday or Wednesday, a couple of days later than I'd initially predicted. (See further below.) The 3D fantasy loosely based on Lewis Carroll's work stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

'Hot Tub Time Machine' malfunctions, 'The Bounty Hunter' surprisingly sturdy

Directed by Steve Pink, Hot Tub Time Machine disappointed with a so-so $14.02 million debut. Starring John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, and Clark Duke, the MGM comedy may not even match is relatively modest $36 million budget at the domestic box office.

Since as a rule of thumb studios/distributors keep about 50-55 percent of domestic box office grosses, if Hot Tub Time Machine is to earn MGM a profit – especially when taking into account marketing and distribution costs – that will have be generated by way of the overseas market and ancillary revenues.

Starring Jennifer Aniston and How to Train Your Dragon voice actor Gerard Butler, the romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter earned $12 million at no. 4. That's a pretty good amount – down 40 percent from last weekend – for a movie that has been hounded by highly negative reviews. To date, The Bounty Hunter, which cost $40 million, has grossed $38.8 million.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was next in line with $10.1 million, about 15 percent less than early estimates indicated. The kiddie flick's cume is $35.7 million. Featuring Zachary Gordon, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has already covered its $15 million production budget and may end up in the black at the North American box office even after marketing and distribution expenses are tallied. That's rare these days.

Universal's two box office bombs

At no. 6, She's Out of My League drew in $3.51 million, a mid-level 39 percent drop from last week. To date, the Jay Baruchel-Alice Eve teen comedy has grossed $25.6 million. The film was budgeted at a reported $20 million.

Next was the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq War thriller Green Zone with $3.38 million, down 45 percent. The $100 million Universal production has grossed a mere $30.4 million to date.

The Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio mystery thriller Shutter Island, which also features Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, and Michelle Williams, grossed $3.18 million at no. 8, following a relatively low 33 percent drop. Total to date $120.6 million. Budget: $80 million.

At no. 9, down from no. 4 last weekend, the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic action thriller Repo Men earned only $3.01 million. Universal's $32 million production lost 50 percent of its business from a week ago. Total to date: $11.3 million. Repo Men has become the studio's second flop in a row.

The no. 10 movie was another Forest Whitaker effort, Our Family Wedding, which pulled in $2.35 million (down 41 percent). For a movie not aimed at children or teenagers, Our Family Wedding performs surprisingly well on weekends, always going up a spot or two on the box office chart. To date, the comedy also featuring How to Train Your Dragon voice actress America Ferrera has grossed $16.7 million.

'Avatar' no longer among Top Ten

Avatar, now out of the Top Ten according to Sunday's estimates, was no. 11 with $2.04 million. At the beginning of its 15th week, James Cameron's 3D sci-fier has amassed a grand domestic total of $740.4 million.

If it's true that Avatar cost about $200 million to produce and $150 million to market and distribute – studios can easily downplay (or exaggerate) these figures if they so choose – then Avatar's North American box office earnings have already covered its costs (or are very close to doing that).

Robert Pattinson Remember Me movie weekendRobert Pattinson 'Remember Me' movie: Weekend flop, weekday okay.

'Remember Me': Weak weekend performer

At no. 12, Robert Pattinson's Remember Me earned $1.93 million, down an acceptable 42 percent from last weekend. Curiously, when compared to most other movies Remember Me actually does better on weekdays than on weekends.

The romantic drama was no. 10 on Friday, but according to current estimates it had only a minor surge on Saturday and did poor business on Sunday. That has been the film's pattern since it opened two weeks ago. A relatively weak weekend, but then on weekdays it goes up a spot or two on the chart.

To date, Remember Me has brought in $17.1 million, or about $1 million more than its production cost. It'll probably earn another $3-$5 million in the next couple of weeks, ending its run in the low $20 million range. That's not bad at all for a movie that at first looked like it was going to disappear within the week.

'The Ghost Writer': Made for the international market?

At no. 13, Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer grossed $1.65 million, down only 20 percent from last week. Total to date: $9.19 million. Budget: $45 million.

The Ghost Writer will likely earn its producers a profit, but only when international and ancillary revenues are tallied. In fact, The Ghost Writer is the sort of movie that seems to have been made with specific segments of the international market in mind.

Films with adult themes – unless they have a major star and a strong studio push (and that's no guarantee, e.g., Green Zone) – haven't been doing well at all at the North American box office, which apparently continues to survive thanks to 12-year-olds (or those with the mindset of 12-year-olds) and their parents, guardians, and/or nannies.

In The Ghost Writer cast:

Ewan McGregor. Pierce Brosnan. Olivia Williams. Kim Cattrall. James Belushi. Jeff Burrell. Robert Pugh.

Best Actor Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom, 2001).

Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, 1980).

Veteran Eli Wallach (The Victors, The Godfather: Part III).

Movies in limited release: Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic down alarmingly

A holdover from last week, the Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic The Runaways dropped an alarming 43 percent, collecting only $455,000 at 237 North American screens this past weekend. Average per screen: a paltry $1,920.

Here's wondering what's going to happen when The Runaways opens wide in April. The film's total to date is $1.58 million.

The silver lining: much like Robert Pattinson's Remember Me, The Runaways will probably do much better on home video and pay-per-view. Twilight fans may not be willing to go to a movie theater and shell out $12 to watch Pattinson or Stewart in off-beat roles, but they may well be willing to catch them on the small screen.

Chloe Amanda Seyfried Julianne Moore'Chloe': Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore play dangerously.

Amanda Seyfried-Julianne Moore combo disappoints

At 350 screens, Atom Egoyan's Chloe, starring Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried, and Liam Neeson, grossed a disappointing $900,000, or a quite low $2,573 per location.

The Noah Baumbach-Ben Stiller comedy Greenberg did okay for itself, grossing $1.02 million at 181 screens; its per-theater average was $5,642. For comparison's sake: Three weeks ago, Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer had a per-theater average of $8,769 at 147 sites. Ticket prices were lower then as well.

At 44 screens, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did well with $344,000 and a per-theater average of $7,761. The Swedish mystery thriller stars Noomi Rapace as a computer hacker who helps a disgraced journalist (Michael Nyqvist) crack a four-decade-old murder.

Toplining Tahar Rahim, Jacques Audiard's A Prophet is losing steam in a market that for all purposes allows only big-budget Hollywood productions – or movies with tons of critics' awards – to prosper. The well-received prison drama pulled in $145,000 for a total of $1.32 million.

Bong Joon-ho's also well-received Mother, starring Kim Hye-ja in the title role, brought in only $81,000 at 38 screens. Total to date: $215,000.

Marco Bellocchio's Vincere, with Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi, earned $48,000 at 13 screens. Total to date: $78,000.

Still out there:

  • Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon: $35,000. Total: $2.023 million.
  • Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces, starring Penélope Cruz: $23,000. Total: $4.758 million.
  • Tomm Moore and co-director Nora Twomey's animated The Secret of Kells: $16,000. Total: $117,000.
  • Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's Ajami: $12,000. Total: $444,000.

'How to Train Your Dragon' Friday debut more modest than expected

March 27 p.m. update: DreamWorks Animation's new 3D feature How to Train Your Dragon grossed an estimated $12.2 million – a $3,009 per screen average – on Friday (March 26), according to Box Office Mojo. That's more than $1 million less than early estimates indicated. (See further below.)

Will the film match the $47.5 million prediction found at Deadline.com last night? That's still possible, considering that revenues for kiddie flicks such as How to Train Your Dragon tend to zoom up on Saturday and Sunday.

Alice in Wonderland Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter Mairi Ella Challen'Alice in Wonderland': Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter attempts to develop Alice's (Mairi Ella Challen) innate artistic qualities.

'Alice in Wonderland' no longer tops

At no. 2 for the first time since it opened three weeks ago, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland collected $4.7 million – down 53 percent from the week before. That amount is also a hefty $1.5 million less than stated in early reports.

It's now unclear when exactly Alice in Wonderland will cross the $300 million mark. As a kiddie flick, revenues should soar today and tomorrow – as they have in the past. But it's highly unlikely the 3D film will reach $300 million by Sunday even with the assistance of higher ticket prices. Chances are that milestone will be crossed either Monday or Tuesday next week.

'Hot Tub Time Machine' no 'The Hangover'

Hot Tub Time Machine will apparently underperform as predicted late last night. At no. 3, the MGM comedy starring John Cusack took in an estimated $4.55 million on Friday. Hot Tub Time Machine may thus end up grossing only $13.5 million for the weekend, when most initial predictions had it pegged at around $20 million.

At no. 4, the Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter earned $4 million. That's a perfectly acceptable drop – 47 percent – for a movie that has been widely derided. Its estimated weekend take is $12.5 million.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was next with $2.9 million. Figures will most likely improve on Saturday and Sunday, enough for it to gross an estimated weekend total of $11.5 million.

'How to Train Your Dragon' flying high, but not too high

March 27 a.m. update: How to Train Your Dragon will apparently be settling for halfway between a solid opening and an excellent opening. The DreamWorks Animation 3D feature scored an estimated $13.5 million on Friday. A rough estimate for the weekend, as per Deadline.com, currently stands at $47.5 million. Predictions had ranged from $30+ to $60 million or whereabouts.

Alice in Wonderland, for its part, is holding up stronger than expected, grossing about $6.2 million on Friday for an estimated $22.5 million by Sunday night. Most box office clairvoyants were predicting $17-18 million, especially considering that Alice has just been booted out of hundreds of 3D theaters.

If this rough estimate is on target – $298 million cume by Sunday night – Alice in Wonderland will cross the $300 million mark on Monday.

The MGM comedy Hot Tub Time Machine may end up underperforming: an estimated $4.5 million on Friday and only $13.5 million for the weekend. Most had been predicting something around $20 million, which is what other recent comedies of that type have collected on their debut weekend.

'Remember Me' surprisingly ahead of 'Avatar'

Surprisingly, according to Friday estimates the no. 10 movie on the domestic box office chart wasn't James Cameron's Avatar but Robert Pattinson's Remember Me. Both films lost about 300 screens each and Avatar's 3D tickets are costlier; even so, Pattinson's romantic drama held the lead.

Things will surely change on Saturday and Sunday, as Avatar receipts usually go way up on the weekend proper. Unless Pattinson's fans suddenly decide to flood U.S. and Canadian theaters, James Cameron's 3D sci-fier will likely be among the Top Ten by the time final weekend figures are tallied.

Remember Me took in 690,000, down a mid-level 44 percent. That's good when compared to its much steeper drop-off rate last weekend. We'll see how the film performs on the next two days.

The Forest Whitaker-America Ferrera comedy Our Family Wedding was no. 11 with $655,000, and only then came Avatar at no. 12 with $535,000, down 49 percent from last week.

Hot Tub Time Machine John Cusack The Hangover'Hot Tub Time Machine': John Cusack in malfunctioning 'The Hangover'-like comedy.

Weekend debuts: 'How to Train Your Dragon,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine,' movie ticket price increases

March 26, '10: How to Train Your Dragon opens today in North America. Expect box office receipts to soar even if actual attendance drops.

Thanks to the success of James Cameron's Avatar and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, 3D venues have decided that the Great Recession is over, spring is here, and it's time to cash in on the Good Times.

That means an additional $2 to $3 per ticket for 3D presentations – though the price hike will actually take place across the board. In other words, 2D movies will be affected as well.

At this rate, next spring a 2D matinee will cost about as much as an IMAX-3D ticket for Avatar last winter. (I hope the National Association of Theater Owners will be revising its “average” ticket prices for 2010, currently at $7.61, in the very, very near future.)

How high will 'Dragon' fly? How hot will 'Tub Time Machine' get?

How to Train Your Dragon is expected to dominate the domestic box office this weekend, though how strongly is yet unclear ($30+-$60 million). At Box Office Mojo, Brandon Gray has pointed out that dragon movies (Eragon, Dragonheart) haven't fared all that great in the past; which is kinda strange, considering that dinosaurs – i.e., dragons without wings or fire-spitting tongues – have usually acquitted themselves quite well.

The weekend's other major domestic release is Hot Tub Time Machine, supposed to be a kindred spirit to last year's sleeper blockbuster The Hangover. Starring John Cusack, Hot Tub Time Machine is MGM's first release since Fame last September. Box Office predictors are expecting a $17-$22 million debut.

'Alice in Wonderland' soon to pass $300 million

Although Alice in Wonderland will be crossing the $300 million mark sometime in the next few days, it will be severely impaired by a drastic cut on its number of 3D venues, which have been taken over by How to Train Your Dragon. Predictors are expecting $17-18 million for the weekend.

A glut in the market keeps making 3D exhibitors dump still-profitable films for new releases. Exhibitors should keep on doing well (even though first/second weekend box office percentage shares generally favor distributors), but the 3D films' producers (and, quite likely, distributors) probably aren't too happy with the current set-up.

'Alice in Wonderland' to cross $300 million milestone

March 26, 10, update: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland collected $2.574 million at the domestic box office on Thursday, March 25. To date, Alice in Wonderland's total gross stands at $275.8 million. The 3D fantasy tale starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway will probably cross the $300 million mark sometime Saturday, or Sunday afternoon at the latest.

Another update: I should have taken into account that Alice in Wonderland is losing hundreds of 3D venues this weekend. Tim Burton's 3D fantasy will definitely cross the $300 million mark in the next few days, but that may happen only sometime next week.

'The Bounty Hunter,' 'Green Zone' yet to reach $30 million mark

In other domestic box office news, according to Box Office Mojo Andy Tennant's much-panned romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter grossed $1.4 million at no. 2 on Thursday, after jumping 10 percent in relation to the previous day. After seven days, the $40 million production starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler has yet to reach the $30 million mark.

Thor Freudenthal's Diary of a Wimpy Kid, featuring Zachary Gordon, was up 12 percent, earning $893,000 at no. 3. As usual for kiddie flicks, after lying low all week long following an 80 percent Sunday-to-Monday drop Diary of a Wimpy Kid is poised for a major surge in business on the weekend proper.

The Jay Baruchel-Alice Eve teen comedy She's Out of My League was next with with $572,000 (up 6 percent), followed by the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon flop Green Zone $511,000 (down 3 percent). After two weeks, Universal's $100 million Iraq War-related production has yet to reach the $30 million mark.

'Avatar' surges nearly 20 percent

At no. 6, the Jude Law-Forest Whitaker futuristic action thriller Repo Men raked in $478,000. After a week out, Universal's $30 million production has collected a measly $8.29 million.

Next in line was James Cameron's Avatar with $416,000 – up one spot after a 19 percent surge. The 3D sci-fier starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver was followed by the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller Shutter Island with $413,000 at no. 8.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me Box office disappointment budgetRobert Pattinson in 'Remember Me': Box office disappointment, but budget within reach.

'Remember Me' grosses to match budget this weekend?

Robert Pattinson's romantic melodrama Remember Me was no. 9 with $307,000 (up 13 percent). After two weeks, its total stands at $15.1 million. If things continue as they are, sometime this weekend Remember Me's grosses will match its $16 million budget.

That's good, but remember that studios only get about 50-55 percent of a film's take at the box office. In order to pay for itself, Remember Me will need the money coming in from overseas, where the romantic drama will at least match – probably surpass – its North American box office gross.

Besides Robert Pattinson, Remember Me features Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Tate Ellington, Peyton List, Ruby Jerins, and Lena Olin.

'The Ghost Writer,' 'Brooklyn's Finest' on way out

Rounding out the Top Twelve on Thursday were:

  • Our Family Wedding with $242,000.
    Cast: Forest Whitaker. America Ferrera.
  • The Ghost Writer with $186,000.
    Dir.: Roman Polanski.
    Cast: Ewan McGregor. Pierce Brosnan. Kim Cattrall. Olivia Williams. Tom Wilkinson. Timothy Hutton. James Belushi. Veteran Eli Wallach (How the West Was Won, The Good the Bad and the Ugly).
  • Brooklyn's Finest with $150,000.
    Dir.: Antoine Fuqua.
    Cast: Richard Gere. Ethan Hawke. Don Cheadle. Ellen Barkin. Will Patton. Lily Taylor. Wesley Snipes.

A few more Thursday figures:

  • The documentary Hubble 3D raked in $87,000.
  • The Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning rock biopic The Runaways took in $79,000.
  • The Noah Baumbach-Ben Stiller collaboration Greenberg scored $14,000.

 

Alice in Wonderland castle image: Disney Enterprises.

Avatar Pandora image: ILM / 20th Century Fox.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

 

Image of How to Train Your Dragon flying dragons: DreamWorks Animation.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me movie image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried Chloe movie image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter and Mairi Ella Challen Alice in Wonderland image: Disney Enterprises.

John Cusack Hot Tub Time Machine image: MGM.

Matt Damon Green Zone Iraq thriller Universal bombMatt Damon in 'Green Zone': Political thriller is latest Universal and Iraq War box office bomb.

Box Office: Matt Damon political thriller 'Green Zone,' Robert Pattinson romantic melodrama 'Remember Me' flop

March 15 update: Starring Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass' Iraq War thriller Green Zone landed far behind top movie Alice in Wonderland this past weekend (March 12–14). Faring even worse – though on about 15 percent of Green Zone's budget – was Allen Coulter's romantic melodrama Remember Me, toplining Twilight Saga actor Robert Pattinson in his first star vehicle.

In Green Zone, Matt Damon plays the leader of a U.S. Army team who uncovers a government conspiracy in Iraq. American and Canadian audiences couldn't care less. Green Zone pulled in an underwhelming $14.3 million from 3,003 locations, or a mediocre $4,765 per theater.

That's not only slightly less than estimates released on Sunday but also several million less than Universal and partner Relativity Pictures were expecting. One key reason: unlike kiddie flick Alice in Wonderland, the adult-oriented Green Zone did relatively poor business on Saturday.

Clearly, this $100 million production will turn out to be the latest Iraq War-related flop at the domestic box office, following, among others, Redacted, In the Valley of Elah, and this year's Best Picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker. Green Zone also happens to be Universal's third domestic bomb of 2010, following The Wolfman and Leap Year.

Besides Matt Damon, the Green Zone cast includes the following:

Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone).

Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, 1997).

Jason Isaacs. Brendan Gleeson. Khalid Abdalla. Omar Berdouni.

'Remember Me' likely soon to be forgotten at domestic box office

Remember Me, Robert Pattinson's first big-screen try-out as a human being since Twilight made him a household name, brought in $8 million at 2,212 screens, or a highly disappointing $3,657 per screen – that's about $1,000 less than Green Zone's average, even though Matt Damon's movie is screening at about 50 percent more theaters. (All things being equal, the smaller the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.)

One key issue: Remember Me has been plagued by mostly negative reviews, which may help to explain why it opened at the very low end of Summit Entertainment's already modest expectations.

Of course, a number of Robert Pattinson fans showed up at this past weekend's showings, but not nearly enough of them to give the $16 million romantic melodrama the initial boost it so desperately needed. In fact, Remember Me actually suffered a 20 percent box office drop on Saturday.

Ultimately, Remember Me debuted below both She's Out of My League, a teen comedy with no stars, and Martin Scorsese's hold-over mystery thriller Shutter Island.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me film first post-Twilight star vehicleRobert Pattinson in 'Remember Me': Romantic melodrama is his first post-'Twilight' star vehicle.

Not so surprising climax

Saturday's box office figures all but killed Remember Me, possibly because of poor word of mouth or perhaps Robert Pattinson's fans decided they didn't want to go see a movie in which the all-but-immortal Edward Cullen dies. Really, the film's “twist” ending was out even before Remember Me opened.

Allen Coulter's romantic drama will in all probability be unable to recover its low cost at the domestic box office. (Exhibitors keep about 50 percent of a film's gross.) But ancillary and international revenues will likely earn investors some good cash, even after taking out distribution and marketing expenses.

Besides Robert Pattinson, Remember Me features the following:

Emilie de Ravin. Pierce Brosnan. Chris Cooper. Tate Ellington. Peyton List. Ruby Jerins. Lena Olin.

'Alice in Wonderland': Year's first $200 million blockbuster

Alice in Wonderland grossed slightly more than expected on its second weekend out at the North American box office. Tim Burton's fantasy adventure took in an estimated $62.7 million – an impressive $16,822 per screen – according to final figures found at Box Office Mojo.

Alice in Wonderland's domestic total to date is $209.3 million; in fact, it's the first 2010 release to cross the $200 million mark. Now, although Alice in Wonderland is performing remarkably well, its weekend-to-weekend decrease was much steeper than Avatar's, which has generally hovered between 10 and 20 percent.

According to Hollywood.com, 2010 domestic box office grosses currently stand at $2.24 billion, up 9 percent compared to last year, while actual movie attendance is 6.7 percent higher than at this time in 2009.

That's all thanks to the Alice in Wonderland effect, which alone grossed nearly as much as this weekend's other Top Ten movies combined.

'Alice in Wonderland' cast

Alice in Wonderland features the following:

Three-time Best Actor Oscar nominee Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003; Finding Neverland, 2004; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2007).

Best Actress Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove, 1997).

Best Actress Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, 2008).

Mia Wasikowska (as Alice). Crispin Glover. Matt Lucas. Marton Csokas. Frances de la Tour.

Jemma Powell. Lindsay Duncan. Tim Pigott-Smith. Geraldine James. Lucy Davenport. Eleanor Tomlinson.

Voice Cast: Michael Sheen. Stephen Fry. Barbara Windsor. Alan Rickman. Paul Whitehouse. Timothy Spall.

Veteran Michael Gough (Batman, Konga).

Veteran Christopher Lee (Corridors of Blood, Horror Castle).

Best Actress Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, 2004).

'Shutter Island' passes $100 million milestone, but 'She's Out of My League' & 'Our Family Wedding' have little to celebrate

At no. 3, Shutter Island grossed $8.1 million for a $2,427 average. The crime thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo has crossed the $100 million mark, with its total take currently at $108 million.

Also in the Shutter Island cast:

Ben Kingsley. Max von Sydow. Michelle Williams. Emily Mortimer. Patricia Clarkson. Jackie Earle Haley.

Although She's Out of My League outperformed Robert Pattinson's Remember Me in actual revenues, its per-theater average was slightly lower. The teen comedy toplining Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, Mike Vogel, and Geoff Stults earned $9.7 million at 2,956 locations, or $3,307 per venue (vs. Remember Me's aforementioned $3,657). Directed by Jim Field Smith, She's Out of My League reportedly cost $20 million.

This weekend's other new entry, Rick Famuyiwa's Our Family Wedding, grossed $7.62 million at 1,605 screens, or a mediocre $4,754 per screen.

Considering that Our Family Wedding is playing at about half the number of screens reserved for Green Zone, had it been equally successful it should have had a considerably higher per-screen average. Best Actor Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, 2006) and TV's Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera topline this tale about an interethnic marriage.

'She's Out of My League' trailer (Red Band): Filled with expletives and coyly sexual situations to shock and entertain the easily shocked and entertained.

'Avatar' gone from Top Five

Also this past weekend, James Cameron's Avatar was no. 7 with $6.52 million, a 20 percent decrease from last week. To date, the adventure sci-fier has grossed $730.27 million in North America. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver star.

At no. 8, Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest earned $4.47 million. Starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes, the cop drama has collected a total of $21.53 million.

Rounding out the Top Twelve were:

  • Cop Out with $4.26 million; $39.48 million to date.
    Dir.: Kevin Smith.
    Cast: Bruce Willis. Tracy Morgan.
  • The Crazies with $3.68 million; $33.38 million.
    Dir.: Breck Eisner.
    Cast: Timothy Olyphant. Radha Mitchell.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief with $3.07 million; $82.27 million.
    Dir.: Chris Columbus.
    Cast: Logan Lerman. Brandon T. Jackson. Alexandra Daddario. Jake Abel.
  • Crazy Heart with $3 million; $34.08 million. (More on Crazy Heart and the Oscar box office effect further below.)
    Dir.: Scott Cooper.
    Cast: Jeff Bridges. Maggie Gyllenhaal.

'Valentine's Day,' 'Dear John' gone from Top Twelve

Gone from the Top Twelve were:

  • Valentine's Day.
    Dir.: Garry Marshall.
    Cast: Jessica Alba. Anne Hathaway. Bradley Cooper. Taylor Lautner. Eric Dane. Julia Roberts. Ashton Kutcher. Carter Jenkins. Taylor Swift.
  • Dear John.
    Dir.: Lasse Hallström.
    Cast: Channing Tatum. Amanda Seyfried.
  • The Wolfman.
    Dir.: Joe Johnston.
    Cast: Benicio Del Toro. Anthony Hopkins.
Crazy Heart Jeff Bridges Oscar distribution strategy'Crazy Heart' with Jeff Bridges: Oscar-related distribution strategy pays off.

Oscar box office effect: 'Crazy Heart,' 'The Blind Side' & 'The Hurt Locker'

At the North American box office, Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart, John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side, and Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker were the only three movies that benefited from their Oscar victories on Sunday, March 7.

Starring veteran Jeff Bridges (The Last Picture Show, King Kong) as a down-and-out country singer who strikes up a relationship with a younger woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Crazy Heart earned Bridges the Best Actor Oscar, in addition to winning another statuette for Best Original Song (“The Weary Kind” by T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham).

More than any other film, Crazy Heart has been immensely helped by this year's awards season buzz. Following Bridges' victory and the addition of 87 locations, the film was down a mere 9 percent from the previous weekend – the smallest decrease among the top 14 films. To date, Crazy Heart has pulled in $34.2 million.

At no. 13, The Blind Side – relatively speaking – did even better, gaining 28 percent despite the loss of 19 sites. The sentimental family/socially conscious drama stars Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. After adding $1.6 million this past weekend, the top sleeper hit of 2009 reached a remarkable cume of $252.7 million.

Following the addition of 75 venues, at no. 17 Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker grossed an estimated $828,000 at 349 theaters, for a $2,372 average. These are hardly huge figures, but they're not insignificant ones either, considering that the Iraq War drama was initially released last summer – when it flopped – and it has since become a sizable hit on DVD.

The Hurt Locker won five other Oscars, including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal). Total to date: $15.7 million. The cast includes Best Actor nominee Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, and Anthony Mackie.

Oscar wins leave 'Precious,' 'Avatar' unaffected

Despite its two Academy Award wins – Best Adapted Screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher and Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique – Precious didn't fare very well, losing nearly two-thirds of its box office take. Lee Daniels' psychological/family drama starring Best Actress nominee Gabourey Sidibe raked in only $66,000 at 115 venues, for a $570 average.

As mentioned further up, Avatar, which won three Oscars in the technical categories and lost 445 locations, dropped 19 percent compared to last weekend. Except for the opening weekend of Alice in Wonderland, Avatar's weekend-to-weekend decreases have usually ranged between 10 and 20 percent. In other words, the Oscars most likely made little or no difference here.

The Secret of Kells Oscar-nominated animated'The Secret of Kells': Oscar-nominated animated secret.

Acclaimed 'The Secret of Kells' remains a secret

March 14 update: Despite positive notices and a surprise Best Animated Feature Academy Award nomination, Tomm Moore's Irish / French / Belgian co-production The Secret of Kells (co-directed by Nora Twomey) is doing rather poorly – a mere $12,500 at one single location – having lost nearly three-quarters of its take from last week.

Apparently, U.S. audiences only care about animated films if they're made, distributed, and massively advertised by Pixar and/or Disney. A small, foreign-made animated feature, no matter how well received – The Secret of Kells enjoys a 91 percent approval rating, as per Rotten Tomatoes – has little to no chance.

Relatively speaking, doing considerably better in limited release is Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer, starring Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, and Olivia Williams. Now playing at 224 venues, the political thriller earned an estimated $1.23 million, for an okay $4,496 average on its fourth weekend. Total to date: $4.2 million.

At 272 sites, Michael Hoffman's The Last Station grossed $466,000 for a total of $5.3 million after nine weeks. The period drama stars James McAvoy and Academy Award nominees Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.

'A Prophet' coulda been more than a contender, 'The Exploding Girl'

Jacques Audiard's César winner A Prophet, a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee,* earned $218,000 for a 3,633 per screen average and $786,000 after 17 days. An Oscar win would probably have helped this tough prison drama, which has done quite well in France. A Prophet stars Best Actor César winner Tahar Rahim.

Bradley Rust Gray's drama The Exploding Girl opened at one theater, grossing a meager $6,000. Starring Kim Hye-ja, Bong Joon-ho's well-regarded Korean drama Mother grossed $36,000 at 6 screens in New York and Los Angeles, for a quite modest per-screen average of $6,000.

Other domestic box office totals to date:

  • A Single Man: $8.8 million.
  • An Education: $12.3 million.
  • The White Ribbon: $1.8 million.
  • My Name Is Khan: $3.9 million.
  • Youth in Revolt: $15.2 million.
  • Broken Embraces: $4.6 million.
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: $7.5 million.
  • The Messenger: $1 million.
  • Terribly Happy: $97,000.

* The Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award winner was Juan José Campanella's The Secret in Their Eyes / El secreto de sus ojos, a Spanish / Argentinean co-production that was Argentina's official Oscar entry.

Alice in Wonderland Mia Wasikowska'Alice in Wonderland' with Mia Wasikowska: Alice never looked quite like this in the old Walt Disney cartoon.

'Alice in Wonderland' tops international box office

Alice in Wonderland is doing extremely well overseas, raking in an estimated $76 million from 6,621 screens in 48 markets. Tim Burton's 3D extravaganza was the top movie in every single territory.

After ten days the film has taken in a staggering $221 million, nearly 70 percent of which at 3D venues (which charge a premium). And there's more to come. Alice in Wonderland has yet to reach several top international markets, including France, China, Japan, Spain, and Brazil.

Alice's current top markets are:

  • The United Kingdom with $10.8 million this weekend; $34 million total.
  • Russia with $10.6 million; $32.2 million total.
  • Italy with $9.3 million; $28.7 million total.
  • Germany with $7.1 million; $16.4 million total.

Worldwide, Alice in Wonderland has amassed $429.6 million.

Leonardo DiCaprio trailing only 'Alice'

Shutter Island was the no. 2 movie at the international box office this past weekend, scoring an estimated $19.2 million in 43 markets. The film's total overseas take to date is $82 million, while the worldwide total currently stands at $190 million.

For comparison's sake, Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning The Departed (2006), also starring DiCaprio (plus Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Vera Farmiga) grossed $289.8 million worldwide.

At no. 3, James Cameron's Avatar pulled in $17 million at 4,000 venues in 69 territories. Japan was the adventure sci-fier's biggest market, with $3.1 million. International total to date: $1.914 billion. Worldwide total: $2.644 billion.

'Green Zone' finds slightly greener pastures overseas, 'Remember Me' not so lucky in Australia

Matt Damon's Green Zone was no. 4, with $9.7 million at 1,562 sites in 14 markets. In terms of per-theater average, that's better than the Iraq War-related thriller's domestic performance (at least in part thanks to the weak U.S. dollar), but Green Zone is hardly what you'd call an international blockbuster.

Universal/Relativity Pictures will have trouble recovering their $100 million investment, not to mention distribution and advertising costs.

Meanwhile, Robert Pattinson's domestic disappointment Remember Me fared even worse in Australia, where it opened at 173 screens. The romantic drama grossed only $388,000 in that country. For comparison's sake: also in Australia, Green Zone, scored $1.9 million at 212 screens.

Overall, despite Pattinson's Twilight popularity, Remember Me brought in a paltry $1.6 million at 530 screens in 9 markets.

The weekend's no. 5 movie at the international box office was Chris Columbus' fantasy adventure Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which earned $6.1 million, for a not inconsiderable $120.5 million cume. That's nearly 50 percent more than what The Lightning Thief earned in the U.S. and Canada.

Oscars also helping 'international audience-unfriendly' movies

Crazy Heart, The Blind Side, and The Hurt Locker have all apparently also been helped at the international box office following their Oscar victories.

This past weekend (March 12–14, but in some territories four or even five days are included as “weekend”), The Blind Side took in $1.8 million from 369 sites in 11 markets for an overseas cume of $10.3 million. That's not bad for this type of film, but by the end of its run The Blind Side will be one movie to have performed infinitely better domestically than internationally.

Part of the reason may be that Sandra Bullock isn't as much a box office draw overseas as she is in the United States. Besides, despite its Oscar win, The Blind Side may feel much too culturally “suburban USA” for non-American-suburbia tastes.

Crazy Heart, for its part, beat to the tune of $882,000 at 459 theaters in 21 markets. International total to date: A very modest $3.9 million. Why such modesty?

Well, country music and Jeff Bridges aren't exactly major box office draws anywhere in the world, especially outside the U.S. But the Oscars in all probability helped. Else, rest assured that Crazy Heart and The Blind Side – in addition to The Hurt Locker – would have fared much worse internationally.

Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq War drama, in fact, grossed an impressive $580,000 this past weekend in Australia for a total of $2.5 million.

Remember Me Robert Pattinson Ruby Jerins Feel-bad romantic melodrama'Remember Me' with Robert Pattinson and Ruby Jerins: Feel-bad romantic melodrama fails to lure 'Twilight' crowd.

'Alice in Wonderland' down nearly 60 percent, 'Green Zone' & 'Remember Me' are box office casualties

March 13 update: As expected, Alice in Wonderland was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office on Friday, March 12, grossing an estimated $17.4 million – an impressive (3D-boosted) $4,667 per location.

At a distant no. 2, Paul Greengrass' Iraq War drama Green Zone picked up $5 million from 3,003 venues, or $1,665 per theater. That doesn't bode well for the $100 million production starring Matt Damon, though Green Zone will possibly end up earning more on its first weekend than distributor Universal (at least officially) expected.

Allen Coulter's Remember Me, featuring Robert Pattinson's first non-vampire starring role since his meteoric rise to fame as Twilight's Edward Cullen, took in $3.6 million at 2,212 screens – or a mediocre $1,627 per theater at about 800 fewer venues than Green Zone. (Generally speaking, if movies are equally popular, the one playing at fewer theaters should have a higher per-theater average.)

Matt Damon, Robert Pattinson non-franchise box office appeal

The Green Zone and Remember Me figures are “modest” for movies toplining Matt Damon and Robert Pattinson, the stars of the spectacularly successful The Bourne Identity and Twilight franchises. But that would be comparing apples and watermelons.

From the get-go, The Bourne Identity and The Twilight Saga have enjoyed wide brand recognition by way of bestselling novels. Besides, neither Green Zone nor Remember Me are feel-good fare.

Set in Iraq, the former is a political thriller that depicts a chunk of its American characters as corrupt jerks – hardly the sort of thing to whet the cinematic appetite of millions of popcorn-eating U.S. moviegoers. Remember Me, for its part, amounts to a low-budget indie drama with a much talked about feel-bad Sept. 11, 2001, finale.

'Alice in Wonderland' to rule, Matt Damon's 'Green Zone' and Robert Pattinson's 'Remember Me' to be ruled

March 12: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland will surely dominate this weekend's box office. How forceful that “domination” will be remains to be seen. Even if the fantasy adventure drops 50 percent, that will still mean a remarkable $60 million over the next three days – but figures could go even higher.

Reviews for both Paul Greengrass' Green Zone, starring Matt Damon, and Allen Coulter's Remember Me, starring Robert Pattinson, have been mixed to negative. According to The Wrap, Universal is expecting Green Zone to open in the “upper teens.” If so, that will prove troublesome for the $100 million production.

In addition to Remember Me, Summit Entertainment is rereleasing at 349 venues The Hurt Locker, winner of six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow). The studio expects Remember Me to earn between $8 and $10 million – a worrisomely modest amount for a movie opening at more than 2,000 screens.

Besides Green Zone and Remember Me, also opening today are:

  • The teen comedy She's Out of My League, toplining Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve.
  • The Forest Whitaker-America Ferrera ensemble piece Our Family Wedding.
  • Bong Joon-ho's award-winning Korean drama Mother, starring Kim Hye-ja.

In other box office news, the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: New Moon added another $20,000 to its take on Thursday, March 11. That was the film's Day 121. Chris Weitz directed.

 

Source for international box office figures: The Hollywood Reporter.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

Matt Damon Green Zone image: Jasin Boland / Universal.

Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve in She's Out of My League trailer: Darren Michaels / DreamWorks / Paramount.

Mia Wasikowska Alice in Wonderland image: Disney Enterprises.

Jeff Bridges Crazy Heart image: Lorey Sebastian / 20th Century Fox.

Tomm Moore's The Secret of Kells image: GKIDS.

Ruby Jerins and Robert Pattinson Remember Me image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

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{ 84 Comments }

  1. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>>Remember Me did quite well actually.

    No, it didn't. It grossed a little over $8 million, when Summit was reportedly expecting between $8 and $10. In other words, the film opened at the lower end of already quite low expectations.

    >>>>>>The budget for this movie was $16M and it made back over half that amount in its first three days of opening.

    No, it didn't. Box-office grosses don't translate into studio earnings. Studios get roughly 50% of what a movie earns at the domestic box office.

    >>>>>>>It played in fewer theatres but still had a per theatre average of $3,657. It actually did better than Green Zone, which had a budget of over $100M and went way over even that amount and so far only has a per theatre average of $3,003.

    The fewer the number of theaters, the more likely it is for a movie to have a higher per-screen average. For an opening weekend, $3,657 isn't good. Also, GREEN ZONE was **playing** at 3,003 theaters. Its per-screen average was $4,765, or more than $1,000 higher than that for REMEMBER ME.

    >>>>>>>If you want to be critical of a movie, go start there.

    I'm not being critical of anything. I'm just pointing out the facts.

    For the film to break even at the worldwide box office it'll likely have to earn anywhere between $30 and $40 million. I'm not sure that'll happen.

    But of course, as a result of its low cost REMEMBER ME will eventually end up in the black thanks to ancillary venues both in North America and overseas.

  2. Dawn says:

    Remember Me did quite well actually. The budget for this movie was $16M and it made back over half that amount in its first three days of opening. It played in fewer theatres but still had a per theatre average of $3,657. It actually did better than Green Zone, which had a budget of over $100M and went way over even that amount and so far only has a per theatre average of $3,003. If you want to be critical of a movie, go start there.

  3. gerry says:

    Your aunt may turn-out to be your cousin and your uncle.
    forget dollar value and length of time. you forgot population. gwtw and avatar are in different categories to begin with. Avatar is a Disney movie for adults. Tree worshipping? give me a break!

  4. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>Ya. And if my aunt had balls. she'd be my uncle.

    Actually, she might turn out to be your cousin.

    >>>>>>>>>>Avatar is just over three months old. Let's wait and see….let's give it seventy plus years, the same as Gone With the Wind.

    In other words, it's ok for "Avatar" to be on the all-time box-office chart as long as it's at the very top. If it isn't — and it's not even close when it comes to the number of tickets sold — then it's no longer ok. That makes sense.

    Minor detail: In all its releases and rereleases put together, GWTW didn't get even close to playing at as many screens as "Avatar" on its initial run. Keep that in mind as well.

    Also, "Gone with the Wind" found most of its audience on its initial run and two rereleases. "Avatar" will have its first rerelease later this year. Let's see how well it does.

    >>>>>>>>>>>I agree with the blahblahblah statement above.

    Excellent! Thank you.

  5. zoey says:

    Ya. And if my aunt had balls. she'd be my uncle.

    Avatar is just over three months old. Let's wait and see….let's give it seventy plus years, the same as Gone With the Wind.

    I agree with the blahblahblah statement above.

  6. mh says:

    Blah, blah, blah… indeed.

    This worldwide inflation-adjusted box-office chart is highly inaccurate as it doesn't take into account dollar fluctuations which can add (or subtract) tens of millions to a movie's box-office take.

    And it certainly doesn't give you an even remotely accurate picture of the # of tickets a film has sold.

  7. Stef says:

    Blah, blah, blah…

    Worldwide Avatar is #2 on the all-time box-office chart adjusted for inflation:
    1. $3,429,000,000 Gone With The Wind 51% domestic
    2. $2,670,000,000 Avatar 27%
    3. $2,476,600,000 Titanic 32%

  8. L Pate says:

    They all seem like they will be great movies. Haven't seen any of them yet but am looking forward to them, especially Alice in Wonderland. I hear that is not for children or at least young children as it might scare them. Who would have ever thought they would have made an Alice in Wonderland movie for adults? Go figure.

  9. Brisbane Dave says:

    I hope that the producers did a good job with the Alice in Wonderland movie and didnt wreak a classic movie!

  10. Dennis says:

    Hey! Mia is great ))) dont touch her plz)))

  11. Tina says:

    A very likeable movie–I thought Rob was great! He really is a very good actor. Hope to see him in a lot more movies!

  12. SHE says:

    OK AP:
    The audience does not have to be in film school to instinctively know what looks good, what looks confusing and what looks just bad.
    If the whole film was shot at a medium shot the ENTIRE way through, no matter what film, we would be bored out of our minds. Avatar has more wide shots, some medium and closeups, but if everything were shot at the same level and no one ever sees up or down, just straight on and you can only see shoulders and above…well it's like watching the news channel, informative but boring.

    Couldn't pay you to watch what? I care why?
    Didn't I already say we have to know who goes to see these films, who are the demographics? Why yes I did. Thanks for reiterating something I already said. You are a parrot. If you don't watch the film or understand the concept of it through either the original (book usually) or the screen writer's direction and couldn't even be paid to see it, then don't even bother to post about films at all.
    I have to stomach to watch even the worst of films just for critiquing and understanding.

    TWILIGHT HYPE…Since when did I ever care for any tweenies to watch the Robbert Pattinson film? Or are you talking to someone else?
    Yes, anyone who reads a story called Twilight from a woman who said it was all her dream with a guy she found hot, and calls Shakespeare a misogynist (which is not true) and hating misogynists but making her own hot guy a misogynist has some issues to work out, but that's their life mystery which has nothing to do Robbert Pattinson.

    Film school? Did I say film school? Nope, not at all.
    Art School, honey, not film school. We just have the film majors over here (it is a form of art).
    AP, I was talking to everyone in general, but you should probably clarify who you are speaking to, because some of your own mess is found through the incoherence of your comment.
    Your beloved dark drama isn't as big a hype as you want it to be and it's not because of prejudice or because of Twilight tweenies or adults or anyone against it.
    I could tell you the main reason it didn't do so well, but we'll go with the one that probably won't bog people so much in America.
    It's a poor film. Perhaps a great story, but poor quality in general.
    "Crappy animation usually can't save a good story, but really good animation can save the worst story ever."- teacher who shall go unnamed.
    If it isn't eye catching or beautiful, then this film will go to the flops 90 percent of the time.
    So that dark indie drama you think is a "beautiful" piece of "art" isn't so beautiful after all.

  13. Val says:

    Remember Me is a fantastic movie and Rob was great in it. I hope it does really well in the UK and then on DVD. In my opinion it is a must see movie. Up until now it has seemed to hold it's own in the top 10 being out with big movies like ALice that was in many more theaters than RM. My family Loved the movie. GO SEE IT!!

  14. luvrob says:

    Rob is excellent in remember me…he deserves much more praises and awards than he's got…someday all people will realize his valuable talents…go rob!!!we love you!!!!!

  15. JQ says:

    Remember Me is not a perfect movie but it is much better than many mindless movies that are playing right now. I liked the story but didn't like slow pace of it however the acting was excellent and made you care for characters. Young actors held their own alongside such veterans as Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan. I recommend it to anyone who appreciates good acting and movies that make you feel and think afterward.

  16. bettyel says:

    Remember Me was a wonderful movie. It has a good script, terrific acting, and a thought provoking theme which stays with the movie-goer long after exiting the theatre. Both males and females will enjoy it. Even though many of the critics gave it lukewarm reviews, the word of mouth has been excellent. I haven't spoken to anyone who saw it and didn't love it. Go see it before it leaves your neighborhood moviehouse. You won't be sorry.
    Bettyel

  17. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>The theater count for Remember Me can’t be correct. The new Miley Cyrus flick opened Wednesday yet there is no change shown for the current movies. That movie had to take some film’s place and judging by the major change for Remember Me I would bet it’s the one that lost screens.

    You make a good point, but I checked both Box Office Mojo and boxoffice.com, which show the # of theaters on Wednesday. Both showed the same # of screens for "Remember Me": 1,935.

    "Avatar," "Our Family Wedding," "Repo Men," and "Green Zone" are four that lost hundreds of screens from Tuesday to Wednesday looking at the charts on both sites.

    You could still be right. But if so, neither one of those two sites showed the decrease in # of screens for RM.

  18. Sia says:

    It's not Robert Pattinson IT'S THAT DUMB MOVIE. I'm sorry but that movie only appeals to the Rob fans. It just didn't look good at all. Maybe another movie will get me to watch it.

  19. Anne says:

    The theater count for Remember Me can't be correct. The new Miley Cyrus flick opened Wednesday yet there is no change shown for the current movies. That movie had to take some film's place and judging by the major change for Remember Me I would bet it's the one that lost screens.

  20. Den says:

    Thank God for RPattz! He is a breath of fresh air. He has the ability to be so different and so good in the movies he's been in and the movies to come. It's a bonus he's unconventionally attractive.

  21. renate says:

    Mr. Pattinson is here to stay. He is different to all the pretty faces and buff Bodies..he is a real Person . We relate to him because he can be the Boy next door, the gentle lover we all grave the Protecter and the Friend we want. This is what dreams are made off… and he feeds them well. A Guy who is not scarred to show his goofiness awkwardness ..Ect. The Faces he had in RM were PRICELESS..like the ashtray scene or when he sprays Ally in the kitchen or the look when he talks to his sister absofeakenlutly….

  22. Roeben says:

    Well, the story of avatar is the same as the story dancing with wolves. It's not very original. The graphics are good in Avatar, but that is all.
    If you compare avatar with Alice in Wonderland, I must say I liked Alice in Wonderland more. It's a nice sequel on the first disney animation Alice in Wonderland. Also the actors are better, and the story-line is nicely done. I vote for Alice in Wonderland.

  23. Satine says:

    I don't think Remember Me is a failure, I am uncertain what the expectations from Summit were about the film but I believe this film would have tanked if Robert was not in the movie. It is neither a feel good film or a drama with an ending to satisfy everyone but I believe it has heart and almost every person who has commented on the film takes away something different but profound. I truly believe this film will resonate with future generations and my only hope is that more people will appreciate the film once it is on DVD.

  24. twmmy says:

    And it is 11th on the box office weekend list now, budapest time 03.29.2010. 8:00 a.m.

  25. twmmy says:

    my bread and butter: my hobie and my 3 children. but i have to admit, i don't like twilight too much, but the other movies of Rob Pattinson yes… they are amazing. And Rememer Me is a better movie for me than Love Story. Why ? Cause it makes the people thinking about theirs relationships with their familymembers, and about the life how they live it.And I don'tunderstand the perpetual debunking of the movie.By the way:have you seen the oscar winner another man made only 10 millions in 16 weeks?

  26. ap says:

    If you touch people with your movie, you've done your job. The audience is not in film school so we don't go to look for camera angles and all that jargon crap. You either like the film or you don't. Every film has it's audience. Some are more mainstream. You couln'd pay me to see a horror or sci-fi flick period. I don't care who's in it.

    With the whole Twilight hype,a backlash is inevitable. (think Leo-post Titanic) that's just how petty people are. It's their nature & they can't help it. I think Pattinson is getting the brunt of it. I mean people talk as though Remember Me cost 100 million dollars & if Pattinson fails, it's all over. It's a $16 million dark indie drama people. Get a grip. So the Twilighters are not flocking to it, big deal. I don't think it's their cup of tea anyway. Personally i think in the end that's a good thing.

  27. Sol says:

    Hey I am 41 years old, and I love Robert Pattinson, "his movie "Remember Me" was great and Robert And Emilie DeRavin did an excellent job. I just love him and I annot wait for Bel Ami and Water for Elephants!!!!!! Good job Rob!!! :)

  28. MR says:

    Remember Me is doing quite well. I think it will be around for a longer time than some of these other movies in the top ten. And that is, because the movie's characters are such good actors and actresses and the script evokes emphathy,since it deals with more ordinary problems in life, is a good love story and ties together with a tragic event, 9/11.

  29. Val says:

    I too was shocked at the negative reviews of RM. I love the movie! My whole family did. i hope Rob knows his fans gave RM great reviews. I thought Rob was outstanding in the film. I love Rob and hope he has a big career ahead of him.

  30. Linda says:

    I loved Remember Me – i think it is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I love Robert.I don't mind admitting that I am close to middle aged and mildly obsessed with RP!

  31. jen says:

    GEE. Not a Twilight fan. Not overweight. Not middle age. Loved "Remember Me". As a matter of fact I didn't know who Rob P. was until I went to this movie. GREAT MOVIE!!. Shocked at the negative comments but these comments are so easy to see though. They all seem to point at Mr. Pattinson.Why?His acting was incredible.IT is a great story. Very moving film. Great cast. It makes me question the people that are trying to make it a flop and put a negative view on it.And reporting things as fact that don't exist.

  32. an says:

    I'm 27, teaching at a music school and a fan of Robert Pattinson. I'm not married, nor overweight and not a Twilight fan. So where do I fit according to fanboy expertly knowledge?

    %$@%!! refuse to admit that his film isn't a flop.

  33. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>In case you missed it Michelle, Robert Pattinson fans are middle-age to elderly women. You are obsessed with him and report DAILY on this guy’s movie but seem to know nothing about his demographic.

    LOL. Well, apparently I'm not the only one "obsessed" with Robert Pattinson. I mean, for you to know that I "report DAILY on this guy's movie" you must be reading my pieces on Pattinson on a DAILY basis as well. Cool.

    >>>>>>>>>>His bread and butter are cougars like you.

    ROFL!! Whether intended or not, this was a great compliment. You've truly made my day. You've made MY WEEK!!

    But cougar or panther or pussycat, I find Robert Pattinson a terribly appealing actor. That I must admit. If I and others like me — irrespective of age or gender or height or weight or nationality or … — are his "bread and butter," then it's all good.

  34. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>I’ve wondered about Box Office Mojo’s “average” movie ticket price, and decided it must include second run theaters. Perhaps it even reflect the estimated number of tickets sold at matinees.

    Apart from 2010, those estimates come from the National Association of Theater Owners. But even including small towns, second-run theaters, and matiness, $7.61 for 2010 or $7.50 (I think it was) for 2009 is much too low.

    Those "averages" don't truly reflect average ticket prices — at least not in terms of where most movies make money: major cities, first-run movies theaters, later afternoon/evening showtimes (except for kiddie flicks).

    >>>>>>No need to get snarky.

    ????

  35. Naomi says:

    "when compared to other movies Remember Me actually does better on weekdays than on weekends."

    In case you missed it Michelle, Robert Pattinson fans are middle-age to elderly women. You are obsessed with him and report DAILY on this guy's movie but seem to know nothing about his demographic. His bread and butter are cougars like you.

  36. mfan says:

    I've wondered about Box Office Mojo's "average" movie ticket price, and decided it must include second run theaters. Perhaps it even reflect the estimated number of tickets sold at matinees. No need to get snarky.

  37. Dee says:

    should be retitled … "Forget Me" …a mediocre film.

  38. an says:

    Fanboy rents at it's best.
    Remember Me is an outstanding film and a surprising film among all the CGI crap and mindless comedies that are released.
    Keep hating.
    The film is not a flop, Green Zone is a FLOP as is your action hero Matt Damon.

  39. SHE says:

    Anything Robert Patterson, I am not moved by…honestly. And I hate Twilight just as much.
    By the way I have no prejudice against a movie called Remember Me…I didn't even know it was Robert Patterson until I read this thing.
    I saw the trailer and went "Ugh…really? That's already a stupid film."
    Sorry when you go to a school with film majors and one of your teachers pretty much teaches you how all stories in all movies go (there is an actual formula), then all movies become ruined.
    We do not look at it the same way-we actually look out for camera shots, how long each shot was, what program was used for each, the sequential time for each shot to render… Shooting…everything. We even know the audience type that usually enjoys that too.
    Repo Men's performance was not embarrassing, but the ending truly bogged it down into making everyone think about the ending and only the ending and really not what the whole film was about.
    As another film major said, "There's almost never an ending that satisfies me."
    Repo Men was that ending. It just ended. Point plain blank.
    There's nothing about Remember Me that I can say I would truly ever like. The shot is already just…blegh.

  40. ap says:

    oh please Remember Me had several things going against it. Several sites had leaked the Entire film including the effing ending long before it debut in theaters. Those twilighters love happy ending and they already found out their hero dies at the end. Are you really surprize they didn't show up. The stupid critics were b!tching and moaning about 9/11 being exploited & plus they could not hide their hatred of pattinson no matter how hard they try. Combine that with Summits' Horrible marketing campaign to pass it on as a chick flick which it isnt, I'm surprized this film made any money at all. It's a very dark drama about familial relationships. Everybody I know who have seen the movie loved it and were moved by it. It's a beautiful piece of art. It's too bad most people won't see it due to prejudice.

  41. IK says:

    I agree with the first post. Instead of trying to defend Remember Me all of you RP fangirls should have gone out and watch it. With an over 2,000 screen release and the huge amount of promotion the movie had gotten, it did lousy at the box office especially compared to Twilight (it opened to what…a little over 8 Mio?). It cost 16 Mio to make and if it's lucky it'll make in the low 20 Mio… not a true flop but far from being a hit and definitely proof that RP can not sell a movie just based on his name unless it's Twilight. I think RP is overexposed and overrated. A true indie hit doesn't need close to 2,000 screens to make money…. like Paranormal Activity.

  42. mh says:

    "Repo Men" was #4 last week; it's #9 this week. It's been out for 8 days. It's an action thriller; it stars two established "name" actors; and it cost $30 million. It won't get even close to earning back its cost. Perhaps, with a lot of luck, it'll break even once worldwide ancillary revenues are tallied. With a **lot** of luck.

    Also, it grossed $355 per screen on Friday — $2 less than "Remember Me."

    "Remember Me" is basically an indie, and one that isn't all that commercial since its hero dies at the end. It stars an unproven, up-and-coming young actor. It's been out for 15 days and it's still among the top ten (or was on Friday). And it'll in all likelihood earn its distributor a profit. Its budget was about half of that for "Repo Men."

    You may find it forgettable, but "Remember Me" was no embarrassment at the domestic box office. Unfortunately for Universal, "Repo Men" (and "Green Zone") have been total flops, performing way below expectations.

  43. toots says:

    Funny you rate Repo Men's performance as "embarrassing" and put no such spin on the forgettable "Remember Me" BO performance. RP fangirl?

  44. mh says:

    You make a good point. But unfortunately, studios and distributors only divulge their movies' gross box-office receipts — not # of tickets sold.

    Of course, as you pointed out, the best way to calculate the # of tickets a movie has sold is to find out the average ticket price per movie.

    I'm just not sure where you found your figures for "Wimpy Kid" — surely lots of people watched in the evening as well.

  45. Johnathan A. says:

    I saw the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and loved it. It was great entertainment, fun, and it reminded me of my middle school experience almost to the "T". Everyone, young and old will enjoy this movie.

    However, I am confused about these comparisons and ratings of box office receipts. How can you compare a movie like Diary of a Wimpy Kids box office receipts to say Alice in Wonderland or the Bounty Hunter. First of all Alice is 3D and in an average of 2-3 screens per movie theater and the average ticket cost of Alice is $12.50 to $14.50 per seat. Diary is on one screen in the theaters it's in and the average ticket cost of Diary is $6.00- $8.00. Bounty Hunter gets $11.50 per ticket. Yet you compare their gross box office receipts equally? That doesn't make sense, nor is it fair, it's not apples and apples!

    Since Diary brought in over $22,000,000 last weekend, that would be the equivelent of about almost $40,000,000 if they were getting $14.50 per ticket like Alice does. And Bounty Hunter would really have taken in only $12,000,000 if the tickets cost the same amount as Diary. So Wimpy would really be in the #1 position if they went by the number of people who went to see the movie and not by the amount collected. More people went to see the Diary of a Wimpy Kid than Alice in Wonderland….

    This is not an accurate accounting of the success of a movie. Diary of a Wimpy Kid actually got more people into the theater than either Alice in Wonderland or The Bounty Hunter. So in reality, they are really the #1 movie.

  46. tan young says:

    i was surprised how i enjoyed Bounty Hunter. had avoided it over the past weekend because of the reviews

  47. zoey says:

    There's really no comparison when it comes to the quality of these films.

    The overall ensemble cast was far better in Avatar, and so is it's screenplay. Quibble all you want. The story in Avatar is universal, and speaks to everyone, like it or not.

    Alice will drop off. It isnt good enough, nor are the visuals, to sustain anything near the level of Avatar, the latter which is far superior in every way.

  48. ViviLit says:

    Remember Me has made worldwide, until now, a little more than $ 19 million. And it still has to be released in UK and some other countries. So I guess tt will get the $30 million only with the total BO.

    DVD will sell a lot, cause EVERY Robert fan that watched it and loved it will want it (and that's a lot of people – according to BO Mojo 70% graded the movie A).

    So, yes Summit will profit on it even with all the negative press propaganda and critic reviews. And let's face it, that is mostly because of Rob presence. Without it the movie would probably be a major fail, like Green Zone (with acclaimed Matt Damon) and Repo Man (with Oscar winner Forest Withacker and acclaimed Jude Law).

    Yeah, I guess we are learning that not the actor alone can make a movie a real success (If you have a very good ensemble you could be successful… But lately BO success has been more about effects and 3D than anything… Plot and acting? who cares about it when you can almost touch the pretty fake things on Alice or the pretty colorful plants and animals in Avatar :eye roll:)

  49. Marcela says:

    Remember ME is an excellent movie!!!. It is definitely not a flop. The movie is beautiful and the performances are great.

    Green Zone was a flop. It cost $100 million to make and according to "mh" the movie has to make what $150 million then to brake even, give me a break..

    RM has already passed the $16 million figure and there are many countries that have not shown the movie yet like the UK.

    So give Remember Me and Rober Pattinson a break. He was exceptional!!!!!

  50. Richy says:

    Ironically Mia Wasikowska and Sam Worthington are both in the movie Rogue.

  51. mh says:

    A few things:

    GREEN ZONE's dismal box-office performance has been discussed elsewhere in this blog. Universal has had two major losers in a couple of weeks. REPO MEN was the other.

    Exhibitors usually keep about 45-50% of a film's box-office grosses. That's why "Remember Me" would have to gross about $30 million to break even.

    Even more, actually, when you include distribution and advertising expenses.

    But that's where international box-office rentals (about 40% of total overseas grosses), and ancillary revenues (DVDs, Blu-Ray, pay-per-view, TV & cable, etc, both in the US and abroad) come into play.

  52. mh says:

    The star, Mia Wasikowska, isn't well known.
    True, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, etc. helped. But "Avatar" has its own box-office star, too: James Cameron.

  53. kes says:

    Why does Remember Me have to make $30mil when it only cost about $14mil to make?
    It's far from a flop it's made it's budget back already hasn't it? And it hasn't even opened in the UK and lost of other places yet.

    It's a beautiful movie with fantastic performances.

  54. DN says:

    ' little-known performers '? Johnney Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter little known?

  55. anonymous says:

    Remember Me is a beautiful film I hope more people go and see it cuz if they don't there really missing out on a special movie and a terrific performance by ROBERT PATTINSON.

  56. Sue says:

    You can't count Remember Me out yet. It's not done with all its premieres and considering how it's done so far versus some of what else is out there it is a LONG way from a flop.

  57. Angela says:

    Seems that no one talks about Green Zone. Now that's really a flop! The production cost was $100K and so far the movie has only earned $46K worldwide. They will have to sell a lot of DVDs to get even.

  58. MONIQUE says:

    BUT WHY DO EVERYTHING HAS TO REVOLVE AROUND AMERICA SALES WHAT ABOUT IF IT;S DO GREAT OUT OF THE US BECAUSE IT SURE IS PS EXPLAIN

  59. mh says:

    That's correct.
    But it's good to remember that most movies don't recover their production and marketing costs at the North American box office.
    "Remember Me" has been a disappointment, that's undeniable, but it's not a real flop.
    The film will eventually earn Summit a profit — after international box-office revenues, pay-per-view, cable and TV showings, and home video sales are accounted for.

  60. Nina says:

    Remember Mr still has to make 30 million to break even. That's not gonna happen! The studios only bank around 55%. So, look at this way Summit spent 16 million and has made back around 8 million. All indications are that this is definitely a flop for Robert.

  61. Andrea says:

    I really, really liked the movie, not going in expecting much but mushy romance, but I love how it wasn't hyped up as the event to sell it, but the movie actually happened just like in real life, totally unexpected and i think about it several times a day now, how every decision that we make seems trivial but is consequential. i think it was exceptionally well done, and really brought the reality home.

  62. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>Another lame attempt to make Avatar look less successful than it is.

    Lame is right. But more like another lame attempt to make "Avatar" look more successful than it actually is.

    Re: rereleases. That's mentioned in the piece. If you didn't read it before commenting, that's not my responsibility.

    >>>>>>>>>>That means if your movie is re-released 5 or 10 years later, the amount of money earned per ticket is more (b/c of inflation), plus the movie gets credited additional dollars to it’s total with inflation calculated on top of that.

    Yes, but you're wrong anyhow. Box Office Mojo calculates the inflation-adjusted ticket costs for the year of the rerelease. Now, *that* you omitted from your tirade.

    So, if "Snow White" made $100 million in 1970, that amount will be added to the film's inflation-adjusted total as **1970** $100 million. That should be obvious. Else, "Snow White" would have made a couple of trillion dollars on that chart.

    >>>>>>>>In fact, the only post 80’s movies on that list above Avatar are 1) The Empire Strikes back … 2) ET, & 3) Titanic (will be re-released in 2012).

    That's because more people went to the movies in the past. Four billion movie tickets were sold a year in the 1940s. (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1817&dat=19770330&id=10YgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=850EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6763,5117412) Today they're lucky if they sell 1.4 billion even though the population of the United States is more than twice what it was then.

    >>>>>>>>>So in summary, to prove that Avatar is less successful, the author has needed to…

    The author has needed to do only one thing. Come up with best possible approximation for the # of tickets the movie has sold (in current dollar terms). That's what the inflation-adjusted chart is all about. That's it.

    >>>>>3) claim that downloads which weren’t available for any other film ahead of Avatar on the list had no impact which it most certainly would have, particularly for people afraid of 3D hurting their eyes,

    C'mon, you must be able to come up with better arguments than this.

    >>>>>>>>>4) the market has changed and today there are more big budget movies knocking Avatar out of cinemas such as Alice,

    Clearly, you don't understand the way the market worked 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 years ago if you believe big studio movies are something new. Take a look at the movies released in 1939 or 1940 or 1950 or 1960 or 1970 and you'll find lots and lots of big, big movies that were very successful. (And some that weren't.)

    >>>>>>>>>5) today people also have to content with television, pay TV and DVDs which is an option but I suppose the author would discount this as not applying to Avatar

    You should read the article before commenting.

  63. Jay says:

    Another lame attempt to make Avatar look less successful than it is. The author failed to mention that on that same Box Office Mojo page the author quote for unadjusted inflation it says:

    "Most pre-1980 pictures achieved their totals through multiple releases, especially Disney animated features which made much of their totals in the past few decades belying their original release dates in terms of adjustment. For example, Snow White has made $118,328,683 of its unadjusted $184,925,486 total since 1983."

    That means if your movie is re-released 5 or 10 years later, the amount of money earned per ticket is more (b/c of inflation), plus the movie gets credited additional dollars to it's total with inflation calculated on top of that.

    In fact, the only post 80's movies on that list above Avatar are 1) The Empire Strikes back (which is only $10M ahead of Avatar and will be caught, plus that was re-released in the 90s with extra scenes), 2) ET, & 3) Titanic (will be re-released in 2012).

    So in summary, to prove that Avatar is less successful, the author has needed to: 1) rely on data that is adjusted for inflation in it's release year when almost all the movies ahead were re-released years later, 2) discount Avatar's 3D surcharge which is valid considering it is adding value the other movies aren't, 3) claim that downloads which weren't available for any other film ahead of Avatar on the list had no impact which it most certainly would have, particularly for people afraid of 3D hurting their eyes, 4) the market has changed and today there are more big budget movies knocking Avatar out of cinemas such as Alice, 5) today people also have to content with television, pay TV and DVDs which is an option but I suppose the author would discount this as not applying to Avatar, 6) excluded the fact that it hasn't even been released for 100 days yet so this article is a bit pre-mature, 7) exclude the fact that it has earned more than twice that of any film in history worldwide.

    In 7-10 days this article will be redundant anyway as Avatar is on track to take Ben Hur despite all the dodgy inflation accounting. Plus, like all the great movies on that list Avatar is set for re-release later this year with additional scenes. It may very well be re-released again decades later too when movie prices are $37 each and have it's total figure adjusted from amounts of $7.61. That would really stuff the argument up (when it's finally competing on the same field). What will Avatar haters use as evidence for how unsuccessful it is then?

  64. bettyel says:

    Maybe word of mouth is getting around and people are now going to see Remember Me. It is an excellent movie, good script, well enacted, engrossing and it leaves you with lots to think about after you leave the theater. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure you go soon before it is no longer playing. You won't be sorry.

  65. Stef says:

    Worldwide Avatar is #2 on the all-time box-office chart adjusted for inflation:

    1. $3,429,000,000 Gone With The Wind 51% domestic
    2. $2,670,000,000 Avatar 27%
    3. $2,476,600,000 Titanic 32%

  66. renate says:

    Alice is so confusing and BAD

  67. bettyel says:

    Those who haven't seen it are missing a really good films in Remember Me. It is engrossing, well enacted and gives the viewer a lot to ponder after it ends. Go see it and take your male and female friends. I guarantee they will enjoy it.

  68. Terry says:

    All should be great movies anyway….

  69. Ricky Bu says:

    This movie could have done even better if more theatres had invested in the 3D technology, which was the original plan. But because of the financial crists, a lot got cold feet, resulting far fewer theatres with the required equipment than Cameron had hoped for. Since about 80% of the tecket money comes from the 3D theatres, imagine what would have happened if the transition had went more smoothly.

    Anyway, because of Avatar's success, they will speed up the process. Which says something about its influence.

    The movie will probably end up as number 15 on the list. You have to go back to 1997 and Titanic to find a movie that did it better. And before that, to 1983 and The Return of the Jedi. If excluding the movies with more than one release, you even need to go back to 1975 and Jaws to find the second oldest on the list. And 1965 before that.
    So what movie is going to beat Avatar? I have no idea, but it can take a while, and it is going to be some very impressive stuff.
    Now when people have seen what performance capture, CGI and 3D can do, it will no longer be anything new, and these kind of movies will probably not grap quite as much as attention in the future as they do now. Just as color and sound no longer makes people amazed like they once did.

    The next step will probably be 3D without glasses. And after that, holographic movies, which will be the final major leap in the visual evolution of movies.
    As for sound, imagine sound canons that are able to shoot "sond rays" to the area on the screen where a sound is supposed to come from, like a character's mouth, and the sound is then reflected from the screen and carried to the audience. That way, the direction of the movies would be far more realistic.

  70. Tony Robertson says:

    I have seen several articles about the whole inflation thing but see how ify it gets when you have to guess length of release, cable and dvd eating into time at the box office. Growth of population. It just really becomes a guessing game with all the what ifs. I just don't see how you can compare movies from 40's years ago and further back. Really if you think about it when the talk about the top pop songs they really don't go back further than the rock era and a lot of times not back further than 1970. There is that obvious break at 1955 when the rock era began.

    Reason, people just are not interested in something that far back for the most part. Even if you put say Gone With the Wind at the top what would that accomplish. Probably not much. Would people start demanding a return to that style of movie, I doubt it. Even the sequel to it Scarlett did only so so. You didn't see a mad rush of people to see it like when more recent sequels were made like Phantom Menace. I just don't see the advantage to dig up old movies. Those who do care know which ones they are, all the rest of the population will continue to ignore them.

  71. Orangino says:

    Fact: I would pay 17.50$ to go see Avatar many times over.
    Fact: I would NEVER pay that much to watch Gone With The Wind.
    Fact: Avatar is the highest grossing movie of ALL time.

    Leave it at that, money matters more than numbers of butts in a seat.

  72. peanuts says:

    Avatar's worldwide box office gross has been due to a "perfect storm" of events; a weak dollar, inflated ticket prices and lack of competition. If it had opened last summer, it would have had to contend with a new big release weekend after weekend. Also Avatar has only sold two thirds of the tickets that Titanic sold. Fewer people (relatively speaking) are paying more to see it. In other words, Avatar's box office is giving the misleading impression that it is the most popular film of all time, when the reality is quite different.

  73. mh says:

    "Avatar's" worldwide performance in truly impressive. But it's good to remember a few things:

    About 60% of the film's take overseas came from 3D/IMAX theaters that charge extra. That can really "inflate" a film's revenues (in relation to the # of tickets sold).

    The US dollar has been in the dumps for some time. For example, back in 1998, when "Titanic" came out, the US dollar was very strong. That makes a *huge* difference when foreign currencies are converted into dollars.

    Top markets Russia and especially China were mostly unavailable to Hollywood movies until a few years ago.

    Worldwide box-office figures for older movies is either unavailable or – often – come from unreliable sources.

    Many (perhaps most) countries report # of tickets sold. That's the best way to estimate a film's success. Someone has posted a comment — some other AVATAR post in this blog — which included such a list for Australia. There were movies such as "The Sound of Music" and "Gone with the Wind" on the list — movies that you won't find anywhere near the top on Box Office Mojo's worldwide charts.

  74. Len S. says:

    Taking inflation into account would certainly explain the fact that according to the charts 9 out of the top 10 worldwide money making films date from the year 2000 or later. Out of the top 10, only Titanic from 1997 (#2) on the list was made earlier than the year 2000. However, that being said, with the exception of Titanic, Avatar has taken in more than double the amount of any of the other films on the top 10 worldwide list. Therefore even taking into account "inflated" prices, Avatar's box office performance has been remarkable. Avatar even has a chance to earn more internationally than the #2 (Titanic) and #3 (Lord of The Rings ROTK) films combined. Most impressive !

  75. Federico says:

    I think it would be worth noticing that ALL the existing charts are DOMESTIC (i.e. north american), while Avatar is primarly an INTERNATIONAL success, over 70% of its gross comes from foreign contruies.

    Although it is difficoult to make comparison adjusted by inflaction based on worlwide sellings, if you simply compare the percentage of domestic/worldwide sellings of all the movies in the 20 top seller adjusted by inflaction chart, you will find that Avatar has rougly tied Star Wars and that the only movies still haed of it are Titanic and GwtW.

    To tie these two Avatar will need to make rougly 3 bilions $, which is not at all impossible IMHO

  76. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Your numbers are off. Box office mojo calculated out the 3d/IMAX ticket prices about a week ago and estimated up to that point it had sold about 60 million tickets. Using the $7.35 average, Avatar would have made atleast $440 million if everyone did not pay the extra charge for 3d/IMAX tickets.

    No, the numbers aren't "off." At least no more "off" than anyone else's. Try handing out $10 at the box office in just about every theater in any major urban center and see if you'll be able to buy a ticket for "Avatar."

    Box Office Mojo's Brandon Grey used a $10 average for the 3D screenings. He does explain that's just an approximation based on his observations of ticket prices nationwide. I'd have used something closer to $12 based on my own observations, especially considering that the "average" ticket price — as published by the National Association of Theater Owners — is way too low to being with. "Avatar's" 2D screenings don't cost $7.61 on average, you can bet on that. But as Grey explains in his piece, it's better to have an approximation than no idea whatsoever of how many tickets a movie has sold.

    Here's the Box Office Mojo piece:
    http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=2667

  77. mh says:

    >>>>>>>>>If you really want to do a fair comparison, you need to account for the decrease in popularity of movies overall. For example, calculate Avatar ticket sales as a percentage of total ticket sales for the year and do the same for other movies you want to compare.

    I'd disagree that movies are less popular than they used to be. Moviegoing may be less popular, but that's different. People still watch lots of movies at home. And I *do* mention that in my article.

    As for the "percentage of ticket sales" comparison, that's an interesting idea though I'm afraid it would probably be "misleading" as well. Studios released many more "big" movies in the past than they do today.

    As a result, ticket-sale percentages of major movies released in 1930 or 1940 or 1950 or even 1960 would probably be smaller than today. Release patterns were also different. Movies didn't open in 500 theaters — let alone 3,500. So, the time period (for tallying tickets sold) would have to be different as films opened very slowly. But that's something worth looking into.

  78. Dennis says:

    Money is money – no matter when collected! The success of Avatar is amazing $2.3 Billion and counting in 57 days! This record will not be broken anytime soon.

  79. TM says:

    "Though imperfect, inflation-adjusted charts are the best way to calculate how many tickets a movie has sold. *That* is the only true measure of a film’s popularity **at the box office**."

    You probably don't realize, but what you are doing is just as misleading as comparing unadjusted box office in that you assuming one ticket sold today is just as meaningful as one ticket sold 10, 20, 30 years ago. A ticket sold today is actually much more meaningful simply because there are so many other entertainment options out there. It is *harder* to get that sale today than it was in the past.

    If you really want to do a fair comparison, you need to account for the decrease in popularity of movies overall. For example, calculate Avatar ticket sales as a percentage of total ticket sales for the year and do the same for other movies you want to compare.

  80. Rich says:

    Your numbers are off. Box office mojo calculated out the 3d/IMAX ticket prices about a week ago and estimated up to that point it had sold about 60 million tickets. Using the $7.35 average, Avatar would have made atleast $440 million if everyone did not pay the extra charge for 3d/IMAX tickets.

  81. mh says:

    Armand,
    What you say is absolutely true, and it's mentioned in my article.

  82. armand says:

    Well, sure the number of tickets sold show how many people go to see the movie. But… times have changed. Nowadays there are a lot more home entertainment options and people generally do not go to the cinema that often as back in the day…

  83. mh says:

    No, I've nothing against "Avatar." I'm just trying to put things in perspective. Those who prefer the studio hype or inflated box-office charts are free *not* to read those "inflation adjusted" posts. (I'll be posting another one soon.)

    So, perhaps GWTW would have flopped today. Perhaps not. Only someone who has never watched GWTW, one of the prototypes of the Hollywood blockbuster, would find it "arthouse." But who knows, perhaps "Avatar" would have been a monumental flop back in 1939. Either way, that's not what these posts are about.

    Though imperfect, inflation-adjusted charts are the best way to calculate how many tickets a movie has sold. *That* is the only true measure of a film's popularity **at the box office**. And I can't understand why some refuse to acknowledge such an obvious fact.

  84. JonDoe says:

    I think its quite obvious by now that this website has some sort of bone to pick with Avatar. Why is Alt Film Guide so obsessed with the incredibly inane adjusted box office numbers? Avatar is surviving and making money in its own time, just as Titanic and Star Wars did. Who knows if they would've made as much money today as they did back then…certainly Gone With the Wind would flop, as it would be considered "boring" and "art house".