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The action sequel Fast & Furious 6 held onto the top spot at the North American box office despite decelerating sharply and facing off against competition from a pair of new releases. But it was Will Smith who crashed and burned as his big-budget sci-fi action pic After Earth was rejected by paying moviegoers proving that the once-bulletproof star is no longer invincible. In fact, it was beaten out for the number two spot by the magician heist thriller Now You See Me which posted a strong debut beating expectations.
Moviegoers gorged themselves on high-profile sequels powering the North American box office to a record-breaking Memorial Day frame with the top ten films grossing over $250M during just the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long weekend. The marketplace expanded to incredible levels making for one of the five biggest overall box office weekends ever.
Vulcans and their comrades came out to power the sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness into the number one spot at the North American box office, however grosses were substantially below industry expectations across the board. The Paramount franchise film had an extended release and grossed $70.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday period with a total of $84.1M since its start on Wednesday night in IMAX locations making for a debut that was smaller than its 2009 predecessor's.
This weekend, superhero love kept Iron Man 3 in the number one spot for a second weekend in a row while the lavish period saga The Great Gatsby overperformed in second place offering effective counter-programming. It was the first time in nearly a year that two films did over $50M in business over the same frame.
Tony Stark obliterated the competition as the much-anticipated super hero sequel Iron Man 3 generated the second biggest opening weekend in box office history and also became the top-grossing global blockbuster of 2013. Domestic audiences spent a jaw-dropping $175.3M this weekend, according to estimates, seeing the third installment in the Marvel franchise including grosses from Thursday night shows starting at 9:00pm. Playing in 4,253 theaters, the PG-13 actioner averaged a scorching $41,218 per location and was helped by surcharges for the 3D conversion.
For the ninth time in ten tries, Michael Bay saw his latest directorial effort open at number one as the action-comedy Pain & Gain debuted on top of a sluggish box office frame with an estimated $20M. Headlined by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, the R-rated Paramount release averaged a respectable $6,103 from 3,277 theaters. The action director's only film to not hit number one was his 2005 disaster The Island. He then made only Transformers movies until Pain.
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.
Jackie Robinson made history again as the new film 42 delivered the best opening ever for a baseball movie and clinched first place at the North American box office by racing past industry expectations. Meanwhile, the mindless spoof comedy Scary Movie 5 attracted a fraction of the once-popular franchise's audience and debuted in second place with unimpressive results. Overall ticket sales were about even with normal mid-April levels.
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%.
Testosterone ruled the Easter frame as the 3D action sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened at number one, but Tyler Perry's latest offering Temptation also scored a strong debut of its own in third place. The animated holdover The Croods held up well in its second weekend pulling in families over the school holiday helping the box office beat Easter business from the past two years.
Moviegoers cared about only one magician as the blockbuster Oz the Great and Powerful easily led the North American box office for a second time while dueling magic men Steve Carell and Jim Carrey saw their new comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone get flat out rejected. Meanwhile, the Halle Berry thriller The Call overperformed and enjoyed a solid second place debut.
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.
The big-budget fantasy epic Jack the Giant Slayer opened at number one at the North American box office, however its weak performance hardly justified the enormous production and marketing costs invested into the fairy tale actioner. Other new releases were also soft in their debuts as moviegoers showed little excitement over any of these new titles. March came in like a lamb as the Top 20 grossed only $105M, down sharply compared to the first weekend of this month from each of the last three years.
With Hollywood busy preparing for the Academy Awards, studios dumped out lame new releases which not surprisingly led to a soft session at North American multiplexes allowing former chart-topper Identity Thief to reclaim the number one spot. Universal's hit comedy declined by a reasonable 40% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of last weekend's Presidents' Day frame and grossed an estimated $14.1M leading all films. After 17 days, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman pic has now collected $93.7M and will hit the $100M mark next weekend - a big achievement for an original R-rated comedy.
The Presidents' Day holiday frame saw three films generate $20-25M in ticket sales but the action sequel A Good Day to Die Hard made enough to earn the number one spot. Comedy holdover Identity Thief dropped to second place while the new romance Safe Haven bowed in third. Overall box office was down from last year's robust holiday while Oscar contenders for Best Picture remained popular with moviegoers looking for quality cinema.
This weekend, Universal's Identity Thief blew onto the scene with a surprisingly strong opening, while Steven Soderbergh's supposed last directorial effort debuted mildly in third. Returning films held on reasonably well, especially those of the Oscar variety.
Super Bowl weekend was ruled by the adorable undead as the zombie romantic comedy Warm Bodies opened at number one leading a dull frame with lackluster ticket sales. The Big Game routinely crushes ticket sales on Sunday weakening weekend numbers and studios either avoid programming any good films, or use it as an opportunity to counter-program to young women - the demographic least affected by America's biggest sporting event. The Top 20 sank to just $82M, down a sharp 31% versus last year.
This weekend, the horror-action combo Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters led a sluggish North American box office with a moderate debut that was more than enough to capture the number one spot. Two other new releases, Jason Statham's action film Parker and the raunchy comedy Movie 43, failed to attract much business, helping the overall marketplace lose steam. The top ten was filled with four Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, a handful of underperforming January releases, and an unusually high total of eight R-rated films.
The supernatural thriller Mama knocked out the competition opening at number one with a sensational performance delivering one of the best January debuts ever for a horror film. It was a Jessica Chastain double feature as the Oscar-nominated actress also starred in the number two movie in North America, Zero Dark Thirty which held strong in its second round of wide release. Rival Oscar contender for Best Picture Silver Linings Playbook expanded into a full national run and jumped up into the number three spot while new action releases disappointed. Mark Wahlberg's Broken City debuted in fifth and Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback vehicle The Last Stand took last place in the top ten with a dismal debut. Overall, the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend was healthy and showed a small uptick compared to recent years with four Best Picture nominees making the top ten.