Green Zone, reteaming Damon with Paul Greengrass, his director in the last two, very popular Jason Bourne films, earned just $14.5 million in its first three days at North American theaters, according to early studio estimates. That’s way below industry predictions (in the low to middle $20 millions) and less than a quarter of the $62 million amassed this weekend by the defending champ, Alice in Wonderland, which has leapt like a White Rabbit past the $200 million mark in just 10 days…

Universal, the studio that produced Green Zone, had smelled something bad for more than a year. Greengrass and Damon shot their picture during the last few months of the Bush Administration. Then, writes Anne Thompson on her IndieWire blog, the studio’s co-chairmen, Marc Shmuger and David Linde, “pushed back the Green Zone postproduction and release to allow Greengrass to find the film — and an ending — in the editing room.” The movie’s budget was at least $130 million, plus another $100 million or so to bring to market, and is unlikely to return even half that sum to Universal. The Green Zone shadow, plus the failures of a bunch of other Universal movies (Land of the Lost, Bruno, Funny People, Duplicity, State of Play, etc.), cost Shmuger and Linde their jobs in October. Their legacy projects — this and the expensive disappointment The Wolfman — are still costing Universal.

“It’s a bit of a disappointment,” Nikki Rocco, the studio’s president of distribution, said of Green Zone. Actually, it’s a bit of a disaster. It’s a smidge of financial calamity. It’s a flop of Universal proportions.