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Box office report: X-Men: Apocalypse snuffs Alice Through the Looking Glass

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For the second year in a row, the Memorial Day box office has yielded lower-than-expected grosses for Disney, with the Mouse’s Alice: Through the Looking Glass joining the ranks of Tomorrowland as another domestic disappointment for the studio across the holiday weekend.

Screening at 3,763 North American locations, the $170 million sequel premiered to an estimated $26.997 million over its first three days, with that total expected to rise to around $34.17 million by the end of the four-day weekend, less than half of the $80 million its largest competitor, Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse, is expected to pull in by Monday’s end. The fourth film in the X-Men series to be directed by Bryan Singer, Apocalypse handily subdued Alice to take the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office, raking in an estimated $65.3 million over the three-day frame, $25 million below the $90 million opening of its predecessor, Days of Future Past

While early tracking had Alice on-pace for a debut in the $55-65 million range, the film likely underperformed due to a combination of poor critical reviews (34 percent on Metacritic), the recent controversy surrounding Johnny Depp’s personal life (including domestic abuse allegations from his wife, Amber Heard), and a general lack of interest in a sequel to a film that didn’t really need one in the first place. Still, the film received a better-than-average A- audience grade on CinemaScore, indicating it could have legs domestically and especially internationally, where it debuted to an estimated $65 million from 72 percent of the worldwide market, with openings in France (June 1), Japan (July 1), and South Korea (Sept. 8) still on deck. 

Though Alice marks another expensive letdown for Disney, the studio is having a great year nonetheless: In May, it became the fastest studio to cross the $1 billion domestic mark thanks to Zootopia (currently at $335.8 million), The Jungle Book (currently at $338.5 million), and Captain America: Civil War (currently at $377.193 million).

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Last week’s top earner, The Angry Birds Movie, proved that video game adaptations don’t always have to plummet from week to week as it recedes to the No. 3 position, earning an estimated $18.75 million ($24.6 million four-day) from 3,932 theaters. As of Sunday, the film’s domestic gross stands at $72.253 million on a reported $73 million budget, while international totals bring the Sony film’s cumulative numbers up to around $223 million thus far

Rounding out the top five are two high profile sequels: In its fourth week of release, Captain America: Civil War comes in at No. 4 with an estimated $15.379 ($19.71 million four-day) gross after losing 831 theaters in the wake of X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass, bringing its domestic haul to $377.193 million. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising tumbled around 58 percent to an estimated $9.274 million three-day gross, with the comedy on-track to add around $2.2 million to that number by the end of the four-day weekend. 

May 27-29 box office (plus 4-day holiday) estimates: 

1. X-Men: Apocalypse –  $65.3 million ($80 million) 

2. Alice Through the Looking Glass – $26.997 million ($34.174 million)

3. The Angry Birds Movie – $18.75 million ($24.6 million)

4. Captain America: Civil War – $15.379 million ($19.717 million)

5. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – $9.274 million ($11.44 million)

Outside the top 10, Yorgos Lanthimos’ festival favorite The Lobster expanded to 116 locations, bringing in a solid $725,092 for a No. 12 finish. The Sundance documentary Weiner, coming in at No. 20, also broadened its theater count to 27, averaging over $6K per screen for a three-day total of $164,970, while Rebecca Miller’s Maggie’s Plan, also in its second week of release, climbed to No. 22 with $105,387 from 19 screens.