Weekend Box Office (March 15- 17, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers cared about only one magician as the blockbuster Oz the Great and Powerful easily led the North American box office for a second time while dueling magic men Steve Carell and Jim Carrey saw their new comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone get flat out rejected. Meanwhile, the Halle Berry thriller The Call overperformed and enjoyed a solid second place debut.

Disney's big-budget Wizard of Oz prequel Oz was both great and powerful grossing $41.3M in its sophomore frame to boost the ten-day cume to $144.1M, according to final studio figures. The PG-rated witchfest dropped a moderate 48% which was in line with Johnny Depp's 3D fairy tale extravaganza Alice in Wonderland from three years ago which declined by 46% in its second weekend which was also in mid-March. That film amassed $209.3M in its first ten days, or 63% of its eventual $334.2M domestic final. Neither Oz nor Alice had a new competing kidpic open on that sophomore session.

Overseas, Oz hauled in another $46.6M from 55 territories boosting the international total to $136.8M and the global gross to $281M. With audiences generally liking the costly $215M-budgeted fantasy film, the current trajectory puts it on course for $230M-240M from North America and over $550M worldwide.

Halle Berry scored a big hit this weekend with her new kidnapping thriller The Call which exceeded expectations and landed in second place with a $17.1M opening. The R-rated film which finds the Oscar-winning actress playing a 911 operator who takes matters into her own hands to capture a serial killer averaged a sturdy $6,828 from 2,507 locations powered by a female audience. Studio data showed that women made up 61% of the crowd while 53% were over 30. Abigail Breslin co-starred.

Reviews were lackluster but moviegoers responded to the marketing push of this crime thriller. Berry has had little luck at the box office in recent years when not starring in a franchise film with built-in audiences. In fact, The Call delivered her third best opening ever for a non-franchise pic trailing only 2001's Swordfish and 2003's Gothika. The B+ CinemaScore indicates that audiences were generally pleased with what the Sony film had to offer so the long-term outlook seems promising. As an action hero, Berry can now say that she beat out openings this year from The Rock, Mark Wahlberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Colin Farrell.

Barely breaking double digit millions, the all-star comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opened to dismal results in third place with $10.2M for A-list comic stars Steve Carell and Jim Carrey. The PG-13 flick about an iconic Las Vegas magician threatened by the success of a popular new street performer featured two of the biggest box office names in the world of comedy but failed to excite ticket buyers. Burt averaged a middling $3,221 from 3,160 locations and boasted a cast that also included Steve Buscemi, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin and Olivia Wilde.

Critics slammed the Warner Bros. release and unfunny trailers and TV spots did little to change people's minds. Over the past decade, Carell has anchored many broad comedy hits while Carrey has done very few spending more time instead on big kidpics and smaller indies. Among wide releases bowing in 2,000+ theaters, Wonderstone was the worst opener ever for Carell and the third lowest for Carrey after the Majestic and Man in the Moon. Studio research showed that Burt skewed 55% male and 56% over 25. CinemaScore audiences gave a disappointing C+ grade indicating a fast fade ahead.

With nothing new for kids, the fairy tale adventure Jack the Giant Slayer held up well in its third round with $6.3M dipping 36%. The pricey Warner Bros. title has still only collected $54M from North America on its way to about $70M. Identity Thief, a hit with a much lower cost and much higher gross, followed in fifth place with $4.4M. Off just 30%, the Universal smash has grossed a terrific $123.6M to date.

Dwayne Johnson's Snitch has been that rare action movie with good legs slipping 31% in its fourth round to $3.5M for a $37.3M cume to date for Lionsgate. Relativity's party comedy 21 and Over fell 48% to $2.7M with $21.9M overall.

Oscar contender Silver Linings Playbook dropped 30% to $2.5M for The Weinstein Co. lifting the total to a sturdy $124.6M. Its been in the top ten for the past nine weekends. The Relativity romance Safe Haven followed close behind with $2.5M, off 35%, putting the tearjerker at a solid $66.9M. Rounding out the top ten was the kidpic Escape From Planet Earth which dipped only 27% to $2.3M. The total stands at $52.2M for The Weinstein Co.

Making a spectacular splash in platform release was the bikini-clad-girls-with-guns pic Spring Breakers which sold out shows with $263,002 from only three theaters (2 in New York, 1 in Los Angeles) for a jaw-dropping $87,667 average. Distributed by A24, the R-rated film stars Disney Channel gals Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens in more sexually provocative roles along with James Franco who this weekend ruled both the mainstream and specialty scenes. Reviews were generally positive and Breakers will expand nationwide this Friday.

The top ten films grossed $92.8M which was off 1% from last year when 21 Jump Street opened at number one with $36.3M; and down 6% from 2011 when Limitless debuted in the top spot with $18.9M.

Compared to projections, The Call doubled my $8M forecast while The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opened well below my $19M prediction.

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Watch the trailer for Iron Man 3.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Olympus Has Fallen, The Croods, and Admission all open.

# Title Mar 15 - 17 Mar 8 - 10 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Oz the Great and Powerful $ 41,252,702 $ 79,110,453 -47.9 3,912 2 $ 10,545 $ 144,056,326 Disney
2 The Call 17,118,745 2,507 1 6,828 17,118,745 Sony
3 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone 10,177,257 3,160 1 3,221 10,177,257 Warner Bros.
4 Jack the Giant Slayer 6,314,262 9,839,135 -35.8 3,357 3 1,881 54,007,635 Warner Bros.
5 Identity Thief 4,419,310 6,334,220 -30.2 2,842 6 1,555 123,606,175 Universal
6 Snitch 3,504,618 5,098,235 -31.3 2,353 4 1,489 37,261,895 Lionsgate
7 21 and Over 2,669,967 5,091,384 -47.6 2,424 3 1,101 21,918,740 Relativity
8 Silver Linings Playbook 2,525,603 3,618,171 -30.2 1,602 18 1,577 124,551,782 Weinstein Co.
9 Safe Haven 2,453,229 3,753,384 -34.6 2,206 5 1,112 66,911,039 Relativity
10 Escape From Planet Earth 2,339,419 3,218,923 -27.3 2,211 5 1,058 52,178,000 Weinstein Co.
11 Dead Man Down 2,126,029 5,345,250 -60.2 2,188 2 972 9,373,369 FilmDistrict
12 The Last Exorcism Part II 1,276,070 3,167,040 -59.7 1,575 3 810 14,381,174 CBS
13 Life of Pi 1,224,692 1,579,462 -22.5 646 17 1,896 121,344,826 Fox
14 A Good Day to Die Hard 1,157,499 2,121,030 -45.4 1,117 5 1,036 65,471,646 Fox
15 Quartet 936,699 1,254,859 -25.4 688 9 1,361 14,833,591 Weinstein Co.
16 Emperor 625,518 1,014,134 -38.3 311 2 2,011 2,028,581 Roadside Attr.
17 Warm Bodies 569,290 1,015,996 -44.0 659 7 864 64,580,200 Summit
18 Dark Skies 544,605 1,254,261 -56.6 703 4 775 16,647,116 Weinstein Co.
19 Side Effects 543,568 869,117 -37.5 402 6 1,352 30,482,781 Open Road
20 Argo 509,207 1,010,367 -49.6 540 23 943 135,178,251 Warner Bros.
Top 5 $ 79,282,276 $ 105,727,293 -25.0
Top 10 92,775,112 124,576,195 -25.5
Top 20 102,288,289 135,801,305 -24.7
Top 20 vs. 2012 102,288,289 104,874,457 -2.5

Last Updated: March 18, 2013 at 5:15PM ET

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