Cheers! ALICE IN WONDERLAND posts 2010’s best opening day–$41 million!

Eager audiences stormed movie theaters on Friday to see Tim Burton’s new take on Alice in Wonderland, starring Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Box office estimates give Disney’s Alice a one-day total of $41 million from 3,728 theaters in North America–that’s the best opening for a film in 2010 and the biggest opening ever for a 3D feature film, easily topping Avatar‘s opening Friday total of $26.7 million. Pre-release box office predictions for Alice’s opening weekend were in the $70 million range, with the most optimistic forecast at $90 million, according to the Los Angeles Times, but Alice‘s robust opening day performance puts the Burton film on track for an opening weekend well above $100 million, far exceeding expectations. The current title-holder for best March opening weekend is $70.9 million for 300 in 2007, but the Spartans seem likely to lose their crown to Alice this weekend. Congratulations!

The Zone thanks Theresa, Emma, and Marijose for box-office data; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.