After scoring the top debut of 2013, Oz: The Great and Powerful, director Sam Raimi’s prequel to the universally beloved The Wizard of Oz, easily held onto the top spot at the box office during its second weekend of release. Overall, it was a great weekend for questionable A-listers, as the always-out-there James Franco scored double hits with Oz nationwide and Spring Breakers in limited release, while Halle Berry surprised almost everyone with a sturdy debut for her thriller, The Call. And yet, it wouldn’t be 2013 without one box office weekend bomb, though the fact that this weekend’s dud stars Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey is quite the cinematic shock. Read on for a full box office report:
Top 10 Movies (March 15-17)
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
6. Snitch – $3.5 million
7. 21 and Over – $2.6 million
8. Silver Linings Playbook – $2.5 million
9. Safe Haven – $2.4 million
10. Escape From Planet Earth – $2.3 million
After its robust $79.9 million debut, Oz: The Great and Powerful dipped 46% – a scant drop for a CGI heavy 3D blockbuster – and lifted its grand total to $145 million in 10 days. Now that’s something magical! After 2 months of barley any hits, Oz is truly the first big movie of 2013 and it surpassed Identity Thief this weekend to become the highest grossing release of 2013 so far (though Identity Thief is still raging hard at the box office, dropping only 28% in its 6th weekend and continuing its ride to a $130 million finish). What’s most interesting about Oz’s box office is the fact that its domestic income is still out-grossing its international total ($145 million vs. $136 million), which is extremely rare for a special-effects heavy blockbuster like this. In the past year or so, the international box office has become the bread and butter of a potential blockbuster’s gross, and the fact that Oz is defying expectations and breaking out more stateside is a testament to the enduring popularity of The Wizard of Oz in America. Regardless, Oz is a global hit and with $281 million and counting, Disney is clearly celebrating this morning.
Even better news is found in the #2 spot, where Halle Berry’s thriller The Call surpassed even the loftiest of expectations and found a great $17.1 million in its first frame. Over the past two decades, Halle Berry has had quite the interesting career, going from the Oscar-winner (Monster’s Ball) to Bond girl to Catwoman catastrophe and more, and though her filmography is hardly staked with any real box office hits (her last film, the ambitious Cloud Atlas, bombed in October with $27 million total), Berry’s star appeal has never faded and she continually releases one-to-two movies a year despite never being as great as she was in her Oscar-winning performance (she reminds of Reese Witherspoon in that she had one great role but every role since has just made me questioned where that great actress went). Berry’s odd career choices, combined with the abysmal and schlocky trailers for The Call, had many box office projectors labeling the techno-thriller as a 2013 bomb before its debut, yet sly marketing that effectively targeted women and African American demographics helped turn things around. Surprisingly, The Call managed to gain back all of its $13 million budget in its first weekend, a great sign for Halle Berry and further proof that you can never judge a movie by its trailer.
The same positivity can’t be said for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which bombed in the #3 spot with $10.3 million, making it one of the worst debuts ever for comedic superstars Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey. The last time these two funnymen made a movie together it was 2003’s Bruce Almighty (which ironically had Carrey as the lead and Carrell as the sideman – oh, how the times have changed!), which grossed a huge $67 million on its opening weekend on the way to a $242 million finish. Unfortunately, not even the best magic trick in the world could get Wonderstone that high after such a low opening, nor could it even get it anywhere close to the similarly-wacky Blades of Glory’s final $118 million. While this low opening may come as a shock considering the film pit Carrell against Carrey in a duel between wacko, egocentric magicians (perfect characters for the two physical comedy masters), the “magic” subject matter is just too out there for a comedy to become a mainstream hit. Though Carrell is certainly a box-office draw (as is Carrey to a certain extent these days), this is a classic example of content being the kiss of death, and no matter how funny the leads are, this film was never going to break out with a story about magicians – it’s box office kryptonite!
While the rest of the box office was filled with small holds (not one of the Top 10 films dropped more than 50%; even Jack The Giant Slayer eased a slim 36%, though that’s not saying much when the film has just $53 million opposite a $300 million production/marketing budget), the biggest success of the weekend was found way outside the top 10. With $270,000 from just 3 theaters nationwide, Harmony Korine’s dark, hedonistic comedy/drama Spring Breakers earned a spectacular $90,000 per-theater average (meaning most screenings were sold out), not only the best average of 2013 so far but also the 22nd best average of all time. Clearly, fans of the twisted Korine (he’s the man behind cult classics Gummo, Julian Donkey Boy, Trash Humpers, etc.) showed up in droves this weekend, but where the film goes from here is anyone’s guess. Next weekend, Spring Breakers will get a nationwide push in around 1,000 theaters, but will many people show up to such a degrading satire? The film stars James Franco and Disney princesses Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, but all the little girls who are trying to see their favorite tween actresses on the big screen clearly don’t realize how disturbing Spring Breakers is, so it will be interesting to see if the film can really breakout of the actors’ comfort demographic. However, those are next weekend’s concerns; this weekend, Korine and the rest of the Spring Breakers have something to cheer about!
Did you go to the movies this weekend?
Article by Zack Sharf