Avatar will lose all of its IMAX screens as well as nearly 300 of its 3D ones as well as Alice in Wonderland takes over as the 3D box-office favorite this weekend. According to Box Office Mojo, Alice will be appearing in 3,728 2D and 3D theaters this weekend, while Avatar will be reduced to 2,163 after opening in 3,461 twelve weeks ago. The reduced number of theaters has barely slowed Avatar 's pace. On Wednesday it was the top-grossing film at the box office on a per-theater basis and No. 2 overall, barely edged out by Shutter Island . Its total domestic gross has shot up to $712 million, and it is likely to see another surge following Sunday's Oscar ceremony, where it is nominated in nine categories. Still, virtually all box-office gurus are forecasting that Alice will take the crown as opening-weekend champ of 2010. Several suggest that it could earn as much as $70-75 million including a midnight Thursday/Friday preview. The Los Angeles Times said on Thursday that the film's weekend domestic gross could exceed $90 million. Avatar opened in December with $77.03 million. The record for a winter opening is held by Mel Gibson's 2004 religious epic, The Passion Of The Christ , with $83.8 million. However, some writers cautioned that the box office could be negatively impacted on Sunday by the Academy Awards telecast, which is expected to be watched by 35-40 million viewers, many of them traditional Sunday moviegoers.

05/03/2010