For most of us, $34 million is a lot of money. But most of us don’t live on the other side of the looking glass in Hollywood, where down is up, up is down, and spending $170 million (before marketing expenses) on Johnny Depp’s latest exercise in hat-wearing is an investment that’s guaranteed to pay off. Well, the real world seems to have intruded on the Mad Tea Party this past weekend, as Alice Through The Looking Glass pulled in a relatively paltry $34 million in its opening weekend, a number artificially inflated by the four-day holiday. And it’s all downhill from here. (As Box Office Mojo points out, though, Disney is on track to make $4 billion at the box office this year, so don’t feel too bad for them.)
Alice came in at No. 2 to X-Men: Apocalypse, which apparently pleased its corporate masters, if not critics, with an $80 million opening weekend. It was a foregone conclusion anyway, but the solid opening weekend means that we can definitely look forward (?) to Sophie Turner in a flannel shirt cracking Generation X jokes a couple of summers from now. Aside from those two tentpoles, there wasn’t much in the way of new theatrical releases this weekend; the cult documentary Holy Hell came in at No. 31, which isn’t bad considering it only opened on three theater screens.
Instead, the top 10 was dominated by holdovers of easy-to-digest summer fare, like the purported anti-immigration metaphor (no really, look it up) The Angry Birds Movie (No. 3), unexpected feminist statement Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (No. 5), and metaphor for states’ rights or something Captain America: Civil War (No. 4). Further down the charts, a headier metaphor made some unexpected strides, as The Lobster rose from No. 18 to No. 11 after expanding from 24 to 116 U.S. theaters. Could American movie-goers finally be craving substance over style, given the poor performance of empty exercises in cynical sequeldom like Alice Through The Looking Glass and The Huntsman: Winter’s War? We’ll see when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows comes out this weekend.