War pic, romances vie for slice of the b.o. pie
Four wide releases enter a crowded frame this weekend at the domestic B.O., among them Universal’s Iraq War-themed “Green Zone” at 3,003 engagements and Summit’s Robert Pattinson-starrer “Remember Me” at 2,190.Paramount’s R-rated laffer “She’s Out of My League,” as well as Fox Searchlight’s “Our Family Wedding,” starring America Ferrera and Forest Whitaker, round out the slate, all of which will have to compete with Disney’s 3D royalty “Alice in Wonderland” as it enters its soph sesh after launching with boffo results, earning $216.6 million worldwide. Last weekend, “Alice” scored $100.5 millionoverseas at 5,600 screens in 40 territories. Pic should continue to draw top coin overseas as Disney expands to key territories in the coming weeks. Domestically, “Green Zone” will battle to break out of the military mold as U has marketed it more as an action film. Star Matt Damon reunites with two-time “Bourne” director Paul Greengrass to topline “Green Zone,” about a rogue U.S. Army officer who embarks on a personal mission to solve the mystery behind missing weapons of mass destruction. Tracking for R-rated “Green Zone” is strongest among males 20 to 35, though most modern war-themed titles have failed to gain much traction among U.S. auds. U hopes auds will be attracted by the duo’s “Bourne” collaborations, including “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” which have grossed collectively $702.4 million worldwide. The Oscar best picture win for Summit’s “The Hurt Locker,” which has grossed a mere $21.4 million worldwide, could boost interest for “Green.” Summit will expand its re-release of “Hurt Locker” to 319 U.S. locations — up 45 from last weekend — with hopes of capitalizing on the pic’s kudos. “Locker’s” helmer Kathryn Bigelow became the first female director to win the Acad’s directing prize. Pic scored additional nods for original screenplay, film editing and in the two sound categories. “Locker” has sold 780,000 units since its DVD release on Jan. 12 with a solid sales index of 55,000 units sold per $1 million earned at the box office. Summit’s “Remember Me,” is a Gotham-set romance drama about a rebellious young man (Pattinson) who falls in love with a girl, played by Emilie de Ravin. Pattinson’s appeal among young femmes due to his “Twilight” roots should be enough to attract interest, with older women added to the mix. “Remember Me” should also see sparks among the date-night crowd, while Par’s R-rated comedy “She’s Out of My League,” bowing at 2,956 playdates, will also vie for femmes and couples. Teen auds should respond well to the laffer, starring Jay Baruchel (“Knocked Up”) and directed by Jim Field Smith. Rounding out the frame’s wide releases is Fox Searchlight’s “Our Family Wedding,” about the nuptials of an African-American man and a Latino woman, which opens at 1,605 engagements. Still, the weekend’s fresh offerings will have to compete with “Alice,” as the pic’s 3D component should continue to draw auds, though pic will likely see a substantial second weekend fall-off. “Alice” grossed $116.1 million domestically to become the highest grossing first-quarter opener and the all-time highest three-day, non-holiday bow for a non-sequel film in the U.S. The Tim Burton-directed pic bowed at 2,063 3D-equipped locations with Imax committed to a three-week run at an additional 188 screens. Total 3D engagements rep approximately 65% of the film’s domestic count. At the specialty B.O., Fox Searchlight continues its steady rollout of “Crazy Heart,” starring actor Oscar winner Jeff Bridges. Pic, which also picked up an award for original song, will add 87 locations post-Oscars for a total of 1,361. Entering its 13th frame, “Crazy Heart” has cumed an impressive $30.7 million as of March 10. Last weekend, pic dropped 37% with a haul of $3.3 million domestically. IFC will bow mystery-thriller “Stolen,” toplining John Hamm and James Van Der Beek. Pic, about a detective who works to identify the body of a young boy after the death of his own son, will launch at one screen in New York. Overseas, “Alice” should continue to reign supreme despite “Green Zone” opening day-and-date in several markets, including Argentina, Spain and the U.K. “Alice” dominated the international B.O. last weekend, while 20th Century Fox’s 3D holdover “Avatar” continued to perform well in territories where “Alice” hasn’t opened, including Japan and China. In Japan, “Avatar” grossed $3.5 million at 486 screens, and in China, $2.1 million at 792. Overall grosses have reached $148.7 million and $182.2 million, respectively. “Avatar” should have a clear playing field as “Alice” won’t land in those markets for several weeks. China is skedded for March 26 and Japan, April 17.