Box Office: Evil Dead Possesses America

Plus, dinosaurs rule IMAX with the release of Jurassic Park 3D



The horror remake Evil Dead led a solid session thanks to a number one debut while holdovers G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Croods fared well giving the marketplace three films grossing north of $20M each. Plus the 3D re-release of the dino-smash Jurassic Park also scored points with audiences driving the top ten to over $125M in ticket sales. Ticket buyers also caught up on recent hits as four films in the top ten enjoyed low declines of 20-30%.

Sam Raimi scored his second number one hit of the year, this time as just producer, with the horror remake Evil Dead which topped the box office this weekend with an opening of an estimated $26M. Averaging a sizzling $8,595 from 3,025 theaters, the R-rated fright flick earned good reviews and capitalized on a built-in fan base of genre lovers who idolized the 1983 original which Raimi directed. The filmmaker's Oz ranked seventh and remains the highest-grossing film of the year.

The Evil Dead performance was driven by upfront business and all signs show that sales will drop sharply in the days and weeks ahead. Friday kicked off with $11.9M in opening day business which included $1.8M from shows starting at 10:00pm on Thursday night. Saturday then tumbled a disturbing 26% while audiences gave the remake a lousy C+ grade from CinemaScore indicating low customer satisfaction. Sony estimates that Sunday will dip 40% to $5.3M. Studio research showed that 56% of the crowd was male while 56% was 25 and over.

It bested the $21.7M opening of Texas Chainsaw 3D from the first weekend of this year but did nearly match that film's $8,193 average from about 400 fewer theaters. But Evil did not benefit from any 3D surcharges. Dead nearly matched the $28.4M opening of the PG-13 spookfest Mama from January which remains the top horror opening of the year.

Two former number ones held up well and tied for second place with weekend estimates of $21.1M each. Paramount's G.I. Joe: Retaliation fell 48% which was good for an action sequel raising the cume to $86.7M after 11.5 days. The patriotic flick opened midweek taking opening day business off of Friday, but the Easter holidays helped pump up the Friday-to-Sunday opening frame so the decline was quite respectable given the way the film was launched. Joe should reach $130-140M domestically. Overseas markets grossed an estimated $40.2M boosting the international take to $145.2M and the worldwide tally up to $231.9M with China and Japan still to come. Produced for $130M, Retaliation may find itself with global grosses of $450M or more easily beating the $302M of its 2009 predecessor which cost more to make.

Pulling in the same weekend gross, but with a slimmer 21% dip, was the animated hit The Croods from Fox and DreamWorks Animation. The cavepeople pic, still the only toon in town for families, lifted its cume to a stellar $125.8M after 17 days and is now on course to reach roughly $190M from North America. If it continues to post strong holds - no new kidpics open this entire month - then it even has a shot at hitting the $200M mark.

Croods is now playing out much like the leggy DreamWorks hit How To Train Your Dragon from three years ago. Opening weekends were $43.6M and $43.7M, respectively. Second weekend declines were 39%/34% and third weekend drops were 21%/14%. After the same number of days, Croods is running less than 6% behind the $133.4M of Dragon which eventually ended with $217.6M. Worldwide, the pre-historic comedy has now amassed $332.6M surpassing the $304M final of the last DreamWorks title, Rise of the Guardians, on its way to the $500M mark and beyond.

The 3D re-release of Steven Spielberg's dinosaur mega-hit Jurassic Park found a sizable new audience grossing an estimated $18.2M from 2,771 theaters for a solid $6,585 average. Compared to recent 3D upgrades, it was better than the $16.7M of September's Finding Nemo and the $17.3M bow of Titanic from this same weekend last year, but below the $22.5M of Star Wars Episode I from February 2012. An amazingly high 32% ($6M+) of the weekend gross came from 312 IMAX screens. Moviegoers felt this was an experience worth paying extra for. Universal spent $10M to convert the film to 3D.

As a brand name, Spielberg remains popular with audiences continuing to pay to see his imaginative and thrilling adventures on the big screen. Studio research showed that 55% of the audience was male and 54% was 25 and older. Jurassic Park grossed $357.1M during its original run in 1993 and now stands at $375.3M lifetime putting it at number 20 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. The 3D re-release was also aimed at re-invigorating the Jurassic Park brand since the fourth chapter in the series will be shot soon for a summer release next year. As with the last installment, Spielberg will produce but not direct.

Two spring hits tied for fifth place with $10M a piece, according to estimates. The FilmDistrict actioner Olympus Has Fallen declined by an encouraging 29% in its third round pumping the cume up to a sturdy $71.1M. Look for a final gross of more than $90M with an outside chance of even reaching $100M if positive buzz from action fans keeps spreading. Next weekend will see no new action titles opening. Tyler Perry's Temptation fell by 54% in its second weekend which was average for the filmmaker. With $38.4M in ten days, Lionsgate could end up with around $55M.

Oz the Great and Powerful held up well in its fifth weekend grossing an estimated $8.2M, off just 30%, for a $212.8M cume to date. With international markets kicking in an additional $13.6M, the worldwide total now stands at $454.1M as 2013's top blockbuster. The sci-fi flop The Host fell 51% in its sophomore round to an estimated $5.2M. Open Road has collected a dull $19.7M in ten days and will finish off with roughly $30M.

Female-driven movies The Call and Admission rounded out the top ten with estimated weekend takes of $3.5M and $2.1M, respectively. The Halle Berry thriller dipped only 29% for a healthy $45.5M cume for Sony while the Tina Fey dramedy declined by 37% giving Focus a lackluster $15.4M to date.

It was an active weekend in the specialty marketplace. Danny Boyle's new psychological crime thriller Trance debuted to sparkling results with an estimated $136,000 from only four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a potent $34,000 average. Fox Searchlight goes nationwide into nearly 400 theaters on Friday. Sony Classics opened Robert Redford's newest film The Company You Keep in just five locations grossing an estimated $146,000 for a sturdy $29,200 average. The Shia LaBeouf pic will take a slower path with another 25 sites next weekend, an additional 75 on April 19, and then nationwide on the 26th.

Focus enjoyed solid results for its second weekend expansion of the Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper starrer The Place Beyond The Pines which went from four to 30 playdates collecting an estimated $695,000 this weekend for an encouraging $23,167 average. Friday marks its national break with about 450 theaters in play.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $125.4M which was up 9% from last year when The Hunger Games stayed at number one for a third time with $33.1M; and up 28% from 2011 when Hop stayed in the top spot with $21.3M in its sophomore session.

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