Why’d it bomb? Alice Through the Looking Glass
Alice Through the Looking Glass is arguably one of the most surprising box office bombs this year. While I don’t think anyone predicted that it was going to replicate the box office success of its predecessor, I don’t think anyone thought it was going to bomb just as badly (if not worse) as The Lone Ranger and John Carter.
But why did it bomb?
Here are my theories:
While X-Men: Apocalypse was released the same weekend. Although the X-sequel was also a box office disappointment, it did have more hype around it than Through the Looking Glass and, while it didn’t do so well either, it did make more money in the long run. It probably didn’t help that they were vying for similar audiences, as both are big budget sci-fi/fantasy blockbusters and most people chose X-Men over Alice (even though the majority of people chose neither).
4. The Story
The plot looked stupid. If there’s anything right the advertising for the first one did, it’s that it hid that it was secretly just “a fantasy adventure about a chosen one ala Harry Potter or Narnia starring Alice in Wonderland characters” and made it look like it could be a faithful adaptation (even though it wasn’t). The same can not be said for Alice Through the Looking Glass, as the trailer made it loud and clear that the movie was going to be “a generic time travel movie starring Alice in Wonderland characters”. That might’ve turned people off, because how many people really want to see Alice from Alice in Wonderland go time traveling? What’s next, a movie where Mr. Toad goes to an alternate dimension? A movie where Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz goes to space? The whole plot just seemed a bit silly, even for Alice in Wonderland…
3. Johnny Depp’s bad publicity
Well, this is going to be awkward to talk about but, the same day the movie came out, Amber Heard sued Johnny and claimed that he had abused her. This probably scared many people away from the movie as they felt that, if they saw the movie, they would be supporting an abusive man.
2. People are sick of Depp/Bonham/Burton
While these three haven’t made a movie together since 2012, they haven’t been quite able to sell a movie on their own since the early 2010’s. The last Depp/Bonham/Burton movie that was a success was the first Alice in Wonderland while the only films Depp’s been in that have been box office successes were Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Rango, and some movies he’s had a small part in, like 22 Jump Street and Into the Woods. Otherwise, he has not been in a movie that was a box office hit for a while, especially when he’s doing movies with Helena Bonham Carter. Not only was Dark Shadows, which was also directed by Tim Burton, a flop but so was The Lone Ranger, which Burton had no involvement in.
As for Tim, it’s a little hard to tell. Yes, Frankenweenie and Big Eyes flopped but those movies would’ve probably bombed no matter who directed them because claymation movies and oscar-baity films released by The Weinstein Company don’t tend to break box office records. The only film that shows people might be sick of Burton is Dark Shadows, as that didn’t do well at the box office. But the only way to know for certain that people refuse to see Tim’s movies anymore is if Miss Peregrine flops. Yet, as we can tell, whenever those three do a movie together, even if Tim is just the producer, audiences are probably not going to turn up in droves anymore.
However I think the biggest reason Alice Through the Looking Glass flopped was…
1. Poor Marketing
I think this is the biggest reason the movie was a box office bomb. When the first one came out, I remember it was hyped to the heavens and many people were looking forward to it. However, when the movie actually came out, it got a very divisive, bordering on negative, reception and it left many people disappointed.
So, considering the first movie was a disappointment, it probably made a lot of people not want to go through the looking glass. Then, to make things worse, they waited 6 years when the hype had died down and most people hardly, if ever, talk about the movie. In fact, many of what fans the first movie had probably didn’t care either because they probably hadn’t been thinking about the movie for a long time and, by now, weren’t really itching for a sequel. The movie, despite the hype that surrounded it, had no cultural impact and, as a result, not as many people were excited for a sequel when it finally came out. Now, had the movie come out 2-3 years later, as opposed to six, it might’ve still had a chance of being a box office hit but, seeing as they waited so long, they were too late and released the movie when no one really cared about Alice and her friends anymore.
So that’s my theory on why Alice Through the Looking Glass flopped. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!