‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ Tasked with Raising Sales from Slump

  • Looking Glass should debut between $35-$45M beating Angry Birds to top weekend
  • Film won’t extend Disney’s 5-straight streak of $100M+ releases
  • CFI Score – 6/10
Picture: Tickets to an opening day showing of Alice Through The Looking Glass in RealD. (Courtesy Weibo)

Tickets to a China opening day showing of Alice Through The Looking Glass in RealD. (Courtesy Weibo)

Thursday’s total box office revenue of RMB 32.3 million ($4.9 million) set a new daily low for 2016, and five out of the previous 10 days at Chinese movie theaters have seen even less business than Lunar’s New Year Eve, typically the slowest day of the entire year because many theaters close for half the day.

Last weekend, The Angry Birds Movie was unable to shake off the May doldrums and wake up a stagnating Chinese box office, so this weekend the task falls to yet another day-and-date Hollywood family release — Disney’s sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass.

Below, CFI takes a look at the box office potential for Alice Through The Looking Glass.

Alice Through The Looking Glass (爱丽丝梦游仙境2:镜中奇遇记)
China Distribution: China Film Group Corporation (中国电影集团公司)
US Distribution: Walt Disney Studios

CFI Score – 6/10

Director Tim Burton’s whimsical Alice in Wonderland was a financial, if not a critical hit back when it was released in 2010, becoming just the sixth film ever to join the $1-billion-worldwide club.

Six years later, Disney will try to replicate Burton’s success, releasing Through the Looking Glass, with Burton producing this time, and James Bobin of Flight of the Conchords and The Muppets directing.

On paper, Through The Looking Glass ticks several key boxes pointing to a successful Chinese run. Impressive 3D visual effects. Tick. Family-friendly. Tick. Franchise-tested. Tick.

Wonderland scored an impressive RMB 239 million ($34.9 million) way back in 2010 in China, which, remarkably, was the eighth highest-grossing film of the whole year.

Disney would be ecstatic if Through the Looking Glass could repeat that performance and place itself as the eighth highest-grossing film of 2016 up until now— somewhere between The Force Awakens ($125.4M) and The Jungle Book ($150.4M) — especially given the film’s tepid critical reaction stateside.

CFI believes the chances of a $100-million-plus run are slim given the crowded release schedule over the next few weeks. X-Men: Apocalypse opens next Friday, June 3, followed by Warcraft just five days later, and since both of those will command huge screen counts, Through the Looking Glass will have just this weekend and Children’s Day, June 1, to pick up the bulk of its gross.

Looking Glass should debut between $35 million – $45 million in an easy weekend victory over Angry Birds, but it will bring an end to Disney’s streak of five-straight $100-million-plus releases in China dating back to last October’s Ant-Man.