'Alice in Wonderland' bound for box office bonanza

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Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 3D is expected to be a huge hit the weekend of March 5 in the US, with some predictions suggesting it will come close to Avatar's opening, around $75 million.

Advance sales are strong for all moviegoers, not just families, with excitement high among devotees of the director Burton and fans of 3D.

With little competition at the theaters, except for previous films released, like Scorsese's Shutter Island, which took the top spot the last two weekends, this fanciful feature will take the lead and the lion's share. Brooklyn's Finest, released this week in about half as many theaters, appeals to those seeking an alternative.

A wild interpretation of the Lewis Carroll's classic children's book, the film stars Johnny Depp, who is also a draw at the box office, as well as Anne Hathaway, plus Helen Bonham Carter and Australian Mia Wasikowska as Alice.

The film also opens this week internationally in 41 countries, with Japan, Spain, China, and others to see Alice in the coming months.

In the US, the film opens with 1,000 midnight showings and in 3,000 3D theaters.