Weekend Wrap Up: America Stays in Oz

Two newcomers hit theatres this weekend, though it was a virtual guarantee that Oz: The Great and Powerful would nonetheless retain the crown. With the exception of Identity Thief, Oz has been the lone bright spot in a mostly disappointing year for the box office so far. And if this weekend is any indication, it will likely be the brightest spot for a while to come.

Oz: The Great and Powerful

The big budget prequel dropped a respectable 47% this weekend, which is virtually identical to the second weekend drop of Alice in Wonderland. That drop allowed Oz to pull in $42 million and lift its gross to $145 million. In just two weekends, it has become by far the highest grossing film of the year and shouldn’t have much trouble ultimately crossing the $200 million mark. Somewhere in the vicinity of $225 million seems about right, but it’s still a bit early to tell. Still, Oz is likely to be the highest grossing film of the year until Iron Man 3 comes along.

Surprising in second is The Call, which somehow managed to make $17 million. I really don’t understand who the audience is for movies like this, or who watches the trailer and says, “yeah, let’s see that!” or “wow, that looks good!” Different folks, different strokes. With a budget of just $13 million, this is already a success, but after picking up the phone, I still expect audiences to hang up next weekend (see what I did there?).

I don’t understand how The Call made $17 million, but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone only made $10.3 million. Yeah, it didn’t look particularly good or funny, but it sure as hell looked a lot better than The Call. Clearly, Jim Carrey and Steve Carell used up all their box office magic in Bruce Almighty.

Jack the Giant Slayer fell 37%, which isn’t bad, but it still only made $6.2 million and lifted its weak total to $54 million. That might not be a bad total if the studio didn’t let the budget get completely out of control. I just don’t understand how studios allow budgets on movies like this to spiral so far out of control.

Identity Thief slid just 29% to $4.5 million. With $123.7 million in the bank, it ceded the 2013 box office crown to Oz, but nobody involved here is complaining. This comedy far exceeded expectations. In sixth, Snitch lost 31%, grossed $3.5 million and raised the total to $37.3 million, which is almost as much as Parker, The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head….combined.

Down 49%, 21 and Over grossed $2.6 million for a grand total of $21.9 million. Or, you know, what Project X did in just its opening weekend. Silver Linings Playbook stayed steady in eight, falling 29%. $2.6 million more lifts the sum to $124.6 million. With three openers next weekend, we might have seen the last of Silver Linings.

Another $2.5 million brings Safe Haven to just under $67 million. It was off 34%. Ultimately, it won’t be too far off from The Notebook and Dear John, the two highest grossing Nicholas Sparks films, both of which ended up around $80 million. Escape from Planet Earth wraps things this weekend, pulling in $2.3 million, off 28%. A $52 million total gross is pretty strong.

After two weekends on top, it seems likely Oz will surrender the crown, though if it holds well and the newcomers disappoint, three weekends on top isn’t unthinkable. Next weekend offers a smorgasbord of different genres and options, so there might be something for everybody next weekend.

Admission: I mostly stand by my prediction from my March preview of about $9 million from this one. I could honestly see it making as little as $4 or $5 million, though. These types of indie, “quirky” films rarely break out.

Olympus Has Fallen: I’ll bring my prediction from my March preview down a bit to around $15 million, or right in line with Red Dawn. I could really see this one making anywhere from $10 to $20 million, though.

The Croods: As far as animated kids movies goes, this doesn’t look like the best, but there hasn’t been a major movie aimed squarely at kids all year long. Sure, Oz is kind of a family film, and then Escape from Planet Earth was hardly a “major” film. I think The Croods should open pretty strongly, with around $35 million, or more than enough to be the number one film next weekend.

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