Box Office Guru Wrapup: Oblivion Easily Takes Top Spot in Debut

Now in his fourth decade of scoring number one hit movies, Tom Cruise enjoyed one of the best openings of his entire career with the futuristic science fiction film Oblivion which topped the box office worldwide. Universal saw its latest hit film open to an estimated $38.2M in North America from 3,783 theaters for a potent $10,085 average. 323 IMAX sites contributed a solid $5.5M, or 14% of the gross.

That was an impressive performance for an original 2D sci-fi film opening outside of summer. In fact, it was the second best sci-fi opening ever during the month of April after the $61.2M of 2010's 3D remake Clash of the Titans. Overall, it was the seventh best for the month but third biggest for a live-action non-sequel.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) and co-starring Morgan Freeman, Oblivion earned mixed reviews from critics, however paying audiences were not pleased. The CinemaScore grade was a disappointing B- indicating a rocky road ahead. Adult men made up the core audience - not surprising for a sci-fi film and for a Cruise actioner as the actor has lost some of his female fan base in recent years. Studio research showed that 57% of the audience was male and a very high 74% was 25 or older. Teen appeal was minimal here.

But for Cruise, Oblivion delivered the second biggest opening of his career outside of his signature Mission: Impossible franchise trailing just one other science fiction picture -- 2005's summer smash War of the Worlds from Steven Spielberg, which bowed to a holiday-boosted $64.9M. And it more than doubled the $15.2M debut of the actor's last film Jack Reacher from this last December.

Produced for a reported $120M, Oblivion is just one of many big-budget apocalyptic movies from some of Hollywood's hottest male action stars that will compete for the public's attention over the coming months. Next up, Will Smith stars in After Earth opening May 31, then Brad Pitt offers up World War Z in June, followed in August by Matt Damon's Elysium. The end of humanity is also a topic in the raunchy comedy This Is The End with Seth Rogen and James Franco arriving in June.

Made for a global audience, Oblivion pulled in a healthy $33.7M from 60 international markets this weekend dropping 42% from its overseas launch last week. The offshore take now stands at $112M with the global gross at $150.2M on its way to much more as major markets like Japan and China have yet to open.

After a spectacular opening weekend, the baseball drama 42 held up well in its second frame dipping 34% to an estimated $18M for a ten-day total of $54.1M. Warner Bros. should find its way across the $100M mark with this one. Breaking the $150M mark this weekend was the hit animated comedy The Croods, which continued to take advantage of no competition for kids with an estimated $9.5M in its fifth round. Off just 28%, the Fox release had the lowest decline of any film in the top ten and boosted its domestic cume to $154.9M. With $23.4M from offshore markets this weekend, the international total soared to $274.5M, putting The Croods at $429.4M worldwide.

The sequel flop Scary Movie 5 tumbled 56% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $6.3M giving The Weinstein Co. $22.9M after ten days. A final gross of $30-35M seems likely which would be about one-third of the $90.7M that part 4 in the franchise did seven years ago.

The action sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation followed in fifth with an estimated $5.8M, down 47%, for a $111.2M total for Paramount. Overseas action got a boost from a gigantic opening week in China where the American soldiers took in $33M from 7,000 screens over seven days including over $3M from 101 IMAX sites. That drove the international weekend to $40M, the overseas cume to $211.7M, and the global tally to a muscular $322.9M. With Japan yet to open, Joe could find its way to nearly $450M worldwide -- 50% more than the first movie in the franchise.

The Ryan Gosling pic The Place Beyond The Pines tripled its theater count and jumped from tenth to sixth place but saw its average drop down to a soft amount. The Focus release grossed an estimated $4.7M from 1,542 locations for a weak $3,078 average and $11.4M total.

Still on its way into the century club, the action hit Olympus Has Fallen placed seventh dropping 38% to an estimated $4.5M putting the year's first of two White-House-under-attack flicks at an impressive $88.8M for FilmDistrict. Sony's horror remake Evil Dead fell 57% to an estimated $4.1M and has scared up $48.4M to date.

Close behind with an estimated $4M was the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park which declined by 55% for a cume of $38.5M. The Universal blockbuster's lifetime gross has now shot up to $395.6M. Rounding out the top ten was 2013's biggest hit, Oz the Great and Powerful. The Disney smash held up well with an estimated $3M in its seventh weekend, off 37%. The wizard and trio of witches have now amassed $223.8M from North america and a stellar $478.6M worldwide.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $98.1M which was down 18% from last year when Think Like A Man opened at number one with $33.6M; and down 14% from 2011 when Rio stayed in the top spot with $26.3M.

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