1. Alice Through the Looking Glass – likely $75 million
We knew that a sequel to Alice in Wonderland (2010) wouldn’t quite live up to the gigantic grosses earned by the original. Conventional wisdom suggested that since the first film earned $334 million in domestic revenue, but did so with a collective “meh” from paying audiences that saw it, that a sequel would probably drop by as much as half in tickets sold. That would technically be an alarming drop, but one that would still get the movie to around $160 million or more in earned dollars.
The Disney sequel opened to a catastrophic three-day gross of only $28 million, a massive 76% collapse from the original’s $116 million opening weekend. On paper, everything looked set in place to have a lucrative run this summer, even if it didn’t really get close to predecessor’s grosses. Most of the original cast returned, Tim Burton’s name remained in the marketing (though he stepped down as director this time), and the production looked every bit as big as the first film – coming in at a reported cost of $170 million.
Sadly, Alice Through the Looking Glass will not even come close to earning in total what its predecessor did in its opening weekend. Luckily for Disney, this nuclear bomb of a disaster might be somewhat overlooked due to the studio’s success with Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia, and The Jungle Book. But where did this sequel go so wrong?
One major reason for its failure is that the studio took six years to get this movie into theaters. That’s simply too long to be relevant unless they decided to wait ten years or more in order to hit that nostalgia button. However, Alice in Wonderland didn’t exactly gets audiences to love it. Instead, the original live-action adaptation was sold on Johnny Depp’s then-considerable star power and the fact that it was the first major 3D blockbuster following the game-changing Avatar. 3D has since lost its luster, Johnny Depp is no longer the draw he used to be (and is facing some terrible publicity lately), and audiences aren’t as familiar with the source material for Looking Glass as they were for Wonderland. All of these factors effectively killed this very expensive sequel.
The question remains, can international grosses save this movie? At a current total of only $176 million worldwide, the future looks bleak in terms of potential profitability… but maybe. It will be a far cry from the first film which earned a gigantic $1.025 billion worldwide. Suffice to say that Alice will probably not be tumbling down the rabbit hole again until Disney hits the reboot switch.