Box Office Guru Wrapup: Oz Racks Up Enchanting Debut

The Disney prequel's $80.3 million is the best of the year so far.

This weekend, Disney's big-budget Emerald City gamble paid off as the expensive 3D prequel Oz the Great and Powerful opened to sensational results at the North American box office accounting for well over half of all ticket sales thanks to one of the biggest debuts ever seen at this time of year. The PG-rated adventure bowed to a stunning $80.3M, according to estimates, from 3,912 theaters resulting in a spectacular $20,521 average.

It was the third biggest March opening ever trailing last year's The Hunger Games ($152.5M) and the 2010 Johnny Depp mega-smash Alice in Wonderland ($116.1M) and the fourth best during the entire January-to-March corridor. Directed by Sam Raimi, Oz stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz and tells the origin story behind the classic story The Wizard of Oz. The production budget is estimated to be at a staggering $215M but the excellent debut now indicates that this will end up as a moneymaker -- quite possibly with over $600M in global box office plus ancillaries.

The Mouse House had its marketing machine working overtime for months to build excitement and the campaign worked. Families were genuinely excited but so were adult women, teens, and young adults so the broad appeal helped fuel a wider turnout. Plus the brand was popular and relevant making for a film that moviegoers would be interested in paying to see.

Oz started out with a stellar $24.1M opening day on Friday which included $2M from Thursday night shows. Saturday saw a solid 37% boost to $33M while Sunday is estimated to decline by 30% to $23.1M. Alice -- another 3D family-oriented adventure released by Disney in early March -- saw more of its mammoth opening weekend haul turn out upfront on Friday with Saturday inching up only 8%. It went on to finish its domestic run with nearly three times its opening figure and more than $1 billion worldwide. However, that film had the starpower of Johnny Depp and was released during the early stages of the 3D boom when movie fans were more eager to pay the higher ticket prices.

2013 has been a mostly disappointing year with very few films scoring big openings or overperforming. Oz more than doubled the year's largest opening to date -- Identity Thief's $34.6M. That comedy is also the top-grossing film of the year but the title will be swiped away by Oz next weekend. The magician and the three witches also grossed more on opening weekend than last year's budget-busting flops John Carter and Battleship made during their entire runs. Even last weekend's Jack the Giant Slayer won't reach a final North American tally close to Oz's great and powerful weekend.

Oz the Great and Powerful also opened day and date in 80% of the international marketplace this weekend and banked an estimated $69.9M from 46 territories making for a massive $150.2M worldwide opening. Some key markets like China and France are still to come later this month. Featuring a very American story and setting, Oz has less global appeal when compared to other recent movie franchises like The Hobbit, Harry Potter, James Bond, Pirates of the Caribbean, or even Wonderland. But 3D visual spectacles do sell and the studio made a conscious effort to tour the stars around the world in recent weeks for red carpet premieres in Tokyo, Moscow, and London to help energize global ticket buyers.

Despite its B+ CinemaScore grade last weekend when it opened, the big-budget fairy tale adventure Jack the Giant Slayer tumbled a disturbing 63% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $10M. Oz certainly took away much of the target audience but overall consumer excitement for the Warner Bros. release was never very strong to begin with. With $43.8M in ten days, Jack should end its domestic run with a disappointing $60-65M. Produced for nearly $200M excluding global marketing costs, the actioner will deliver substantial losses. The comedy hit Identity Thief held up well in its fifth weekend sliding only 35% to an estimated $6.3M giving Universal $116.5M to date.

Another month, another R-rated action film dies on impact. The Colin Farrell revenge pic Dead Man Down debuted poorly in fourth with only $5.4M, according to estimates, for a weak $2,445 average from 2,188 locations. Adult men made up the core crowd as demographic data showed that the audience was 60% male and 75% over 25. Reviews were not very kind and moviegoers had little praise either as the CinemaScore was a lackluster B- for the FilmDistrict release.

Two films tied for fifth place according to estimates with $5.1M a piece. The Lionsgate action title Snitch posted a very good hold easing 34% with $31.9M to date. Relativity's party comedy 21 and Over dropped by a reasonable 42% and has banked $16.8M after ten days. The distributor's romance hit Safe Haven followed with an estimated $3.8M, down 40%, and a cume of $62.9M.

With Oscar heat evaporating, Silver Linings Playbook fell by 35% -- the largest decline yet of its 17-week run. The Weinstein Co. release grossed $3.7M and upped its sum to an impressive $120.7M. The distributor claimed ninth place too with its animated entry Escape From Planet Earth which got hurt by Oz falling 52% to an estimated $3.2M. The 3D toon has collected $47.8M. Rounding out the top ten was the horror sequel The Last Exorcism Part II which crashed by 60% in its second weekend with an estimated $3.1M. Cume for CBS Films is $12.1M.

In the specialty arena, the Tommy Lee Jones film Emperor generated a mild debut with an estimated $1M from 260 locations for a soft $4,012 average for Roadside Attractions. Reviews were somewhat negative. Also in limited release, Michel Gondry's The We and the I debuted with strong results grossing $12,280 from a solo theater in New York ahead of an expansion to other top markets later this month from Paladin and 108 Media.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $126M which was up 9% from last year when The Lorax remained at number one in its second weekend with $38.8M; and up 13% from 2011 when Battle: Los Angeles debuted in the top spot with $35.6M.



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Comments

Brenton M.

Brenton Malnofski

I truly think Oz deserves its box office attention. I was skeptical going into it, but I came out loving it. Really thought it was great. Second time in recent memory that I've strongly disagreed with the critical consensus, after The Hobbit.

Mar 10 - 07:22 PM

This comment has been removed.

Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe

I just love clever people. You obviously are not one of them.

Mar 11 - 05:36 AM

Larry Tate

J M

And you are rude.

Mar 11 - 05:48 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

I agree, I liked Oz, not the best movie but not the worst movie. Even if the critics don't like it doesn't mean you might not like it.

Mar 11 - 05:37 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Well, it is at 61% that's pretty much RT's definition of not the best, not the worst.

Mar 11 - 04:00 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

I wasn't saying of what RT meant, I was saying that's how I felt.

Mar 11 - 04:40 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Was just saying a lot of people seem to be coming out saying "I'm not listening to the critics on this or Jack and the Giant Killer", just saying I don't think the critics are savaging these films. Everybody seems to be in agreement ok to good films, not going to change anyones religion.

Mar 11 - 07:05 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Ok, I see your point.

Mar 11 - 08:27 PM

John Maher

John Maher

I found nothing to dislike about OZ, other than it could have used slightly better editing, which is true of every film made, today. I also love SPIDERMAN 3 (my favorite of the franchise), so there you go!

Mar 11 - 11:15 AM

Saetre

Saetre Saetre

Spider-Man 3 was your favorite of the franchise? Why?

Mar 11 - 03:11 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

For me, it's because Raimi totally embraces the goofiness of the Silver Age comic books he grew up with and resisting the pressure to make his movie 'darker'. While most depiction of Peter under symbiote influences makes him violent and hateful, Raimi knows his version of Peter is a dork and he acts exactly like how Peter would think a 'cool' character acts.

Mar 11 - 11:33 PM

Lyle Bandoquillo

Lyle Bandoquillo

I gotto say, I actually enjoyed SM3 out all of them LOL. Maybe its cuz I never cared for the first two and, going in on the 3rd with even lower expectations, I was throughly enetrtained (and I enjoyed the homour of evil-douchebag Peter Parker)

Mar 11 - 03:13 PM

Josiah Coulter

Josiah Coulter

Oz was awesome and deserved its box office glory! (as did The Hobbit -- still love the fact that it made over $300 million when soooo many people said it wouldn't).

Mar 11 - 12:14 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Still can hardly consider that a rousing success based on the performance of the Rings films. Think of it like Avengers not paying off as well as say Thor.

Mar 11 - 04:03 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

??? Sorry, Bro, but some facts and figures: "Fellowship" = 314.7 million (870 mill ww), "Two Towers" = 342 mill (926 mill), "Return" = 377.8 mill (1.1 bill) compared to "Hobbit" = 300+ mill (1+ bill). Obviously there's some inflation, but it's hardly an embarassment in comparison. Meanwhile, "Thor" = 188 mill (445 mill)

Mar 11 - 04:47 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I agree it wasn't an embarrassment, just not a rousing success and with Thor I was just saying Fellowship not performing as well as LOTR's is roughly like the hypothetical if The Avengers had made a few million less than Thor. It would have been a decent BO return by most standards, but obviously not what Marvel was shooting for, just like The Hobbit did fine, but obviously not as well as hoped based on the wait, Jackson's return and the reasonable expectation that it would be as good.

Mar 11 - 07:10 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

The real telling factor will be how the next chapter turns out, I'm thinking worse because for me The Hobbit spent quite a bit of the good will earned by the LOTR's series.

Mar 11 - 07:11 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

BB, you're still going to see them. I'm going to see them. Everyone is going to see them. I agree H:UJ is the weakest of the series but we're nerds and nerds are cool now so everyone is a nerd thus the next two Hobbits will go ham at the BO.

Mar 11 - 08:19 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Oh definately, even though I was a bit underwhelmed by The Hobbit it was still definately worth seeing and I don't feel I was cheated out of my money. I just think it will have lost a few of the neutrals because I think a lot of the uninitiated thought it was going to a sort of second coming of LOTR's which it really never could have been because that's not what the story of The Hobbit is.

Mar 11 - 08:41 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

My point: a billion damn dollars.

Mar 11 - 11:00 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Hobbit's gross kind of falls into the "really big, but you get the feeling it should have made more". 300 mil is normally a fantastic gross, but it's surprising that it ended up being the lowest grossing film in the franchise, despite a decade of inflation and 3d ticket prices to its advantage. It's also a little telling that it ended up being the lowest grosser despite having the biggest start.

However, I do think there's a lot of potential for the second film to improve, both quality wise and subsequently at the box office, now that everything has been set up in the first.

Mar 12 - 10:23 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's still the 14th highest grossing film of all-time. Only "King" (6th all-time) did better. "Fellowship" has the lowest gross out of the LOTR films.

Mar 13 - 08:00 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Eh, I am more curious about Franco's effort this upcoming weekend, Spring Breakers.

Mar 10 - 07:24 PM

Saetre

Saetre Saetre

Yeah I'm going to see that just because Franco is in it

Mar 11 - 03:09 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yeah, I'd say I'm more interested in the efforts of Harmony Korine (and at least a couple of the girls).

Mar 11 - 04:49 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Saw Jack the Giant Slayer this weekend. Not nearly as bad as its box office results indicate.

Mar 10 - 08:25 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Correct. But not worth a second watch.

Mar 10 - 10:24 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

True

Mar 11 - 03:14 PM

Brian Todd

Brian Todd

I think it suffered from competition with OZ. People not wanting to see 2 fairy tale movies within a couple weeks.

Mar 11 - 01:20 AM

Josiah Coulter

Josiah Coulter

Plus Jack the Giant Slayer had a lot worse advertising.

Mar 11 - 12:14 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

A YouTube critic I usually agree with gave "Oz" a positive review, so I'll go give it a look sometime this week. Looks like "Jack the Giant Slayer" might end up being this year's "John Carter"; interestingly, I didn't find either film to be all that bad (though neither one was super good either).

Mar 10 - 08:48 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Jack The Giant Slayer did better at the box office when it opened compared to John Carter but like John Carter, it still has a big budget to redeem.

Mar 11 - 05:39 AM

Jonathan Edward O.

Jon Owens

Actually John Carter had a bigger opening than jack by nearly 3 million dollars... Jack opened with 27 mill where carter opened with 30 million. John Carter's NA total was something like 73 million where Jack will most likely end up at arournd 60 million.

Mar 11 - 01:42 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Oh sorry I forgot that it did I was thinking more of the overall total but you are indeed correct. Thank you Jon for telling me that :).

Mar 11 - 02:15 PM

Jerry Jacobsen

Jerry Jacobsen

saw it. good show. fun show

Mar 10 - 09:14 PM

Lyle Bandoquillo

Lyle Bandoquillo

Oz was not as bad as I thought it would be and it had some great twists and a few hilarious moments. Considering I was never a fan of the Judy Garland version or Wicked, this was quite an above-average treat. I guess low expectations makes for a great cinematic experience ;-)

Mar 10 - 09:21 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Those who weren't a fan of the Wizard of Oz really had no business going to see a movie about Oz...

Mar 10 - 10:19 PM

This comment has been removed.

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton

Your guess? Now that's some insightful commentary right there.

Mar 11 - 04:18 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Well, I went to see Alice in the theater and wish I hadn't. So it's fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice....

Mar 11 - 07:53 AM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

I can't get fooled again!

Mar 11 - 12:40 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Those who weren't a fan of the Wizard of Oz really had no business going to see a movie about Oz...

Mar 10 - 10:19 PM

Bobbi Beecher

Bobbi Beecher

Oz was horrible, I wish I had walked out on it, bad acting is an understatement and poorly written can't even begin to describe where they started to went wrong!!! Poor casting cgi looked like the homescreen to your home computer, the one you had 8 years ago.. If you go see it take a good book to read :|

Mar 10 - 10:20 PM

This comment has been removed.

King  S.

King Simba

Really? From interviews, he seems like a pretty humble guy. In an interview for Oz recently, he took the blame for how Spiderman 3 turned out and said he wanted to make Spiderman 4 to make up for it. He also took full responsibility for Sony pulling the plug on Spiderman 4, saying that it was his fault for not being able to deliver a good script on time. I actually respect him for dropping out of Spiderman 4 instead of simply proceeding with a half-assed script like some others would do.

As for World of Warcraft, well if what he said was true then I don't blame him for being pissed off. Okay, Blizzard wasn't happy with the story he pitched, they could have told him so from the begining, instead of letting him work on it for months afterwards, and THEN telling him they wanted him to start all over.

Mar 11 - 08:17 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Actually, Raimi has becoming more comfortable using CGI these days but not in the same way as Cameron and Spielberg but closer to Bay and Abrams! He obviously doesn't want to go back to those days anymore when gory makeup was used most of the time!

Mar 11 - 12:33 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Actually, Raimi tried to use practical effects and sets as much as possible with Oz. As a matter of fact, both Bay and Abrams also like to include practical effects to go with the CGI.

Mar 11 - 01:44 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I have no idea what you mean by saying "practical effects" because CGI is CGI!

Mar 11 - 02:48 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Practical effect are like the Orc costumes in LOTR's being traditional make-up and then using CGI to replicate them so it looks like there are a million orcs when in actuality there are only like 50 replicated a million times. Completely different and different looking than a completely computer generated creation.

Mar 11 - 04:06 PM

Dave J

Dave J

But CGI is still being applied though?

Mar 11 - 04:42 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yep, but more as an enhancement rather than a base. For me with the exception of maybe Avatar the blending of practical effects and CGI is the way to go.

Mar 11 - 07:15 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Ridley Scott is another director that loves practical effects. I'm amazed that most of Prometheus were sets and animatronics.

Mar 11 - 11:41 PM

Arekusandora

Alexandra Borrero

I'm with you man. The acting never really seemed natural, especially at the beginning. There is simply too much I dislike about his film aside from the not so great cgi. :/

Mar 11 - 03:17 PM

This comment has been removed.

Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe

I just love clever people. You obviously are not one of them.

Mar 11 - 05:36 AM

Larry Tate

J M

And you are rude.

Mar 11 - 05:48 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Correct. But not worth a second watch.

Mar 10 - 10:24 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

True

Mar 11 - 03:14 PM

This comment has been removed.

King  S.

King Simba

Really? From interviews, he seems like a pretty humble guy. In an interview for Oz recently, he took the blame for how Spiderman 3 turned out and said he wanted to make Spiderman 4 to make up for it. He also took full responsibility for Sony pulling the plug on Spiderman 4, saying that it was his fault for not being able to deliver a good script on time. I actually respect him for dropping out of Spiderman 4 instead of simply proceeding with a half-assed script like some others would do.

As for World of Warcraft, well if what he said was true then I don't blame him for being pissed off. Okay, Blizzard wasn't happy with the story he pitched, they could have told him so from the begining, instead of letting him work on it for months afterwards, and THEN telling him they wanted him to start all over.

Mar 11 - 08:17 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Actually, Raimi has becoming more comfortable using CGI these days but not in the same way as Cameron and Spielberg but closer to Bay and Abrams! He obviously doesn't want to go back to those days anymore when gory makeup was used most of the time!

Mar 11 - 12:33 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Actually, Raimi tried to use practical effects and sets as much as possible with Oz. As a matter of fact, both Bay and Abrams also like to include practical effects to go with the CGI.

Mar 11 - 01:44 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I have no idea what you mean by saying "practical effects" because CGI is CGI!

Mar 11 - 02:48 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Practical effect are like the Orc costumes in LOTR's being traditional make-up and then using CGI to replicate them so it looks like there are a million orcs when in actuality there are only like 50 replicated a million times. Completely different and different looking than a completely computer generated creation.

Mar 11 - 04:06 PM

Dave J

Dave J

But CGI is still being applied though?

Mar 11 - 04:42 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yep, but more as an enhancement rather than a base. For me with the exception of maybe Avatar the blending of practical effects and CGI is the way to go.

Mar 11 - 07:15 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Ridley Scott is another director that loves practical effects. I'm amazed that most of Prometheus were sets and animatronics.

Mar 11 - 11:41 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I did not see it making that much. Damn. I wonder how it will hold up?

Mar 10 - 10:58 PM

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