James Franco had a great weekend at the box office. Not only did his $215 million blockbuster Oz The Great and Powerful top the chart for a second time, his edgy indie Spring Breakers made a big splash in limited release.
Oz dropped by a modest 47 percent to $42.2 million this weekend, lifting its domestic total to $145 million. In doing so, Oz surpassed Identity Thief to become the biggest hit of 2013 so far. Overseas, Oz hasn’t had quite as magical of a run. The film conjured another $46.6 million from 55 territories (about 85 percent of the international market) and has now grossed a $136.8 million abroad. The fact that the domestic total still leads the international total for an effects-driven spectacle is a testament to The Wizard of Oz’s enduring equity in American culture and its lack of such equity overseas. Still, let’s not pretend that Disney is sad about a 10-day total of $281.8 million worldwide.
Halle Berry’s thriller The Call took second place with a better-than-expected $17.1 million debut. For Berry, who has recently endured a string of flops like Cloud Atlas and New Year’s Eve, The Call marks the best opening weekend since 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which started with $102.5 million. Excluding the X-Men films, The Call is the third strongest debut for a film with Berry in a leading role. Only Gothika ($19.3 million) and Swordfish ($18.1 million) have opened better.
Sony/TriStar, which acquired the $15 million R-rated film from Troika Pictures, effectively marketed The Call to women, and according to the studio, the opening-weekend audience was 61 percent female and 47 percent below the age of 30 – and it also played very well with African-American moviegoers. The Call earned a “B+” CinemaScore grade.
Down in third place was the magician comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which failed to conjure box-office magic with a dismal $10.3 million debut. For Jim Carrey, Burt Wonderstone’s debut is the worst since 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which opened with $8.2 million and found Carrey playing against his typical comedic persona. For Steve Carrell, Burt Wonderstone got off to a better start than last year’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, but considering that film took in just $3.8 million in its first three days, that isn’t saying much.
Burt Wonderstone is now the fifth straight Warner Bros. film to disappoint in 2013. Following Gangster Squad ($45.9 million gross vs. $60 million budget), Bullet to the Head ($9.5 million vs. reported $55 million budget), Beautiful Creatures ($19.1 million vs. $60 million budget), and Jack the Giant Slayer ($53.9 million vs. $195 million budget), Burt Wonderstone’s failure likely has Warner Bros. and New Line, which spent $32 million to produce the film, eagerly looking ahead to the release of The Hangover Part III in May. Distressingly, audiences gave Burt Wonderstone a bad “C+” CinemaScore grade.
Two holdovers rounded out the Top 5. In fourth, Jack the Giant Slayer fell 37 percent to $6.2 million, giving the expensive beanstalk tale $53.9 million after three weekends. Universal’s $35 million comedy smash Identity Thief stuck around for one final weekend in fifth place, dipping 29 percent to $4.5 million. After six weeks, Identity Thief has stolen $123.7 million.
1. Oz The Great and Powerful – $42.2 million
2. The Call – $17.1 million
3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – $10.3 million
4. Jack the Giant Slayer – $6.2 million
5. Identity Thief – $4.5 million
Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, which has garnered ample publicity due to former Disney starlets Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez traipsing about in their bikinis, scored a sizzling debut in limited release. The film, which also stars James Franco, garnered $270,000 from just three theaters, giving it an eye-popping $90,000 average.
Check back next weekend for full box-office coverage on Admission, The Croods, and Olympus Has Fallen.
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