Alice in Wonderland Surpasses Avatar Opening Weekend Haul

Move over “Avatar,” “Alice in Wonderland” is the new queen of 3D movies, at least based on opening weekend performance. Tim Burton‘s reworking of the classic children’s story easily surpassed the opening weekend performance of James Cameron‘s Avatar ($ 77 million), establishing a new record for 3D movies with $ 116.3 million.

Alice in Wonderland set several other records, including for the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel. The film also dislodged Mel Gibson‘s “The Passion of the Christ” for the best opening weekend for a first quarter release. “Passion” earned $ 83 million when it opened in February 2004.

With Johnny Depp playing the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland easily topped the weekend box-office race, with the Richard Gere-Wesley Snipes starrer “Brooklyn’s Finest” taking in only $ 13.5 million for second place. Previous box-office ruler “Shutter Island” dropped to third with $ 13.3 million, bringing its three-week haul to $ 95.8 million.

Walt Disney Studio president for distribution Chuck Viane said Alice’s performance caught even them by surprise. The film was projected to earn around $ 65 to $ 75 million in its first weekend.