2010 Preview: Alice in Wonderland

by Ray Subers
Alice in Wonderland

January 15, 2010

Release Date: March 5 (in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D)
Studio: Buena Vista
Genre: Family Adventure
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Linda Woolverton (based on the novels by Lewis Carroll)
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman
Studio Description: Johnny Depp stars as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as 19-year-old Alice, who returns to the whimsical world she first encountered as a young girl, reuniting with her childhood friends: the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and of course, the Mad Hatter. Alice embarks on a fantastical journey to find her true destiny and end the Red Queen's reign of terror.
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Analysis: Alice in Wonderland brings together frequent collaborators Tim Burton and Johnny Depp for an adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll novel. Their last feature together, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, grossed $52 million, a modest success considering it was a brutally violent R-rated musical set in 19th-century London. More relevant is the box office for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, their last family-oriented live-action collaboration, which grossed over $206 million in 2005. Charlie had cross-generational appeal, reaching adults who had nostalgic memories of the book and the 1971 adaptation Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The same argument could be made for Alice in Wonderland, in that it's a classic story with a famous prior adaptation (Disney's 1951 version) that should resonate outside of just the younger demographic.

The trailers and posters prominently feature Depp (as The Mad Hatter), who has been a solid box office draw since Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a smash in 2003. However, Depp does not play the lead character; that distinction belongs to relative unknown Mia Wasikowska as Alice. Technically, he also was more of an outlandish supporting character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as well, and that didn't seem to slow that picture down.

Scheduled three weeks after Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and three weeks before How to Train Your Dragon, Alice in Wonderland will have room to breathe competitively for the family audience, but, regardless, it's bound to attract many teens and adults unaccompanied by children, given the Burton-Depp brand and the promised visual feast. Its positioned as the first 3D and IMAX spectacle since Avatar, and the higher ticket prices associated with those formats should give Alice some extra kick.

Similar Movies: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Coraline, Peter Pan, The Golden Compass, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Pan's Labyrinth, Bridge to Terabithia, The Cat in the Hat, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Related Charts: Family—Children's Book Adaptation; 3D; Opening Weekends—March

Related Stories:
'Charlie,' 'Crashers' Draw Golden Ticket
'Narnian' Delight: Passion of the 'Lion' Pays

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2010 Preview

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