While many expected Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland to be a success, few would have expected it to be so popular that it’s about to become only the sixth film ever to cross the $1 billion pound barrier in worldwide ticket sale. THR reports that the film will join that elite club tomorrow, with its gross currently standing at an impressive $999 million ($332 million in the US and $667 million in the rest of the world).
It’s also a vindication of Disney’s release strategy. The normal thinking is that for a gargantuan hit you need to release a film either in the summer or around Christmas. However with Avatar having already booked all the 3D screens for the winter and the summer 2010 schedule getting increasingly packed, Disney decided to bring the film out in March, traditionally seen as a movie graveyard. However the studio’s reckoning was that it was only a graveyard because Hollywood believed it was, and therefore only released rubbish movies then. And it would seem the House Of Mouse was right.
It’ll be interesting to see if other studios start looking at their release strategies, as for several years people have said loading massive blockbusters week after week into May and June means they all end up competing against one another and so none reaches they full potential, but no one’s willing to give up the space as it’s seen as so lucrative. And you can sort of understand why, as previous members of the billionaire club – Titanic, Avatar, Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and The Dark Knight – were all either summer or Christmas releases. However Alice In Wonderland has shown that might not be because those times are intrisincally more lucrative, but purely because at the moment it’s when nearly all the big movies get released.
However it should be noted that while Alice will be a billionaire, that’s partly down to inflated ticket prices for 3D, which have certainly helped it out.