Box Office Rundown: March 15th-17th, 2013

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1. Oz the Great and Powerful – $42,222,000

This one took the cake for the second straight week, proving Sam Raimi still has the money making ability he had with the Spider-Man movies, even if this one was more cookie-cutter than those films.  Still, his sweeping visual style has helped his prequel to one of the all time cinema classics has garnered enough attention to put the idea in Disney‘s head that this may be their next franchise.  It has enough mythos to support a series, as original creator L. Frank Baum wrote quite a few stories set in Oz.  AT $145 million in only its second week, this one will be a success, even if it cost over $200 million to make.  Overseas numbers have already pushed it past that point, so it’s only up from here, and a matter of how many weeks it can stay on top.  I just got out of a screening, and James Franco proves to be an unconventional leading man, but he can do the job well enough.  Maybe not like Robert Downey Jr would have, but still, a success.

2. The Call – $17,100,000

The first of two new movies this weekend, I felt like this one was underpromoted, but I guess enough people knew about it (and are obsessively interested in “thrillers”) to push it past the comedic competition that also opened this weekend.  I didn’t think this looked that interesting, and Jeremy says it wasn’t that interesting, but it did something right.  Made on the cheap ($13 million), it’s already a money-maker, so even bad word of mouth can’t ruin this ride for Brad Anderson, who has done some fine work in the past (like The Machinist and Session 9).

3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – $10,305,000

The last time Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey teamed up they had the massive hit Bruce Almighty  ruling the box office, but this time, with Carrell seemingly more in the lead, they don’t have a runaway hit.  Although somewhat modestly budgeted ($30 million) it won’t do much more than make its money back in theaters.  This happened when Carrell took over lead duties on the Bruce Almighty sequel.  I want to see this one, and Carrey is a draw, but I’m sure he’s just not in it enough to get people to love it.  Jeremy thought it was funny, but nothing too special, so it looks like I’ll be waiting for the discount theater to snatch it up.

4. Jack the Giant Slayer – $6,220,000

Although the story is a bit messy, and a lot of aspects are somewhat generic, I enjoyed this one enough, but I wouldn’t recommend everyone run out to go see it.  Apparently a lot of other people felt the same way, as this one has missed the mark so far, earning only $53 million overall in the US, a paltry sum compared to the nearly $200 million budget.  I don’t get the justification of that type of expenditure here, as there were no big stars, and the CGI really wasn’t that great.  Singer is slowly losing his grip on big budget fare, as even the delay to retool the film couldn’t save it from being a bit of a bust.  Overseas numbers aren’t great, this one will be luck to make 3/4 of its budget back before all is said and done.  Singer better have something big planned for the next X-Men movie, or he’s going to director jail soon, and probably for a long time.

5. Identity Thief – $4,519,000

Meanwhile, Jeremy was unimpressed with this one, but it  has put up impressive numbers.  What else can you say about $123 million on a $35 million budget with no big stars? I guess the concept alone was enough to entice people, and even the mixed word of mouth didn’t hurt it.  Good for Jason Bateman.

6. Snitch – $3,500,000

Dwayne Johnson has his ups and his downs.  This looks like a down, but since it has made $37 million (and probably cost a bit less than that), it’s probably a financial up, and won’t hurt his career in the long run.  I won’t pay to see it in theaters, even though I enjoy these corny movies sometimes.

7. 21 & Over – $2,619,000

I don’t think anyone expected this film to make $21 million, which doesn’t sound that impressive, but it’s 1/3 more than the budget, so no one is mad about it, and it’s the type of movie that does well on home video, so they have that to look forward to.

8. Silver Linings Playbook – $2,587,000

After a strong showing at the Oscars, this one continues to grow its financial nest egg, at $124 million, more than 6 times what it cost to make.  A success on every level.

9. Safe Haven – $2,495,000

Nicholas Sparks movies are the definition of “safe” movies, as they have a built in audience, and can be made on the cheap.  This one was made for less than $30 million, and has made $66 million so far.  It only means more movies like it will continue to be made.  Cheer or jeer at that as you may.

10. Escape from Planet Earth – $2,327,000

Although not a big time release from Weinstein Company, this one has done well enough to be considered a success.  In the low range for animated fare, it was made for $40 million, and has grossed $52 million so far.  I saw it with my step son and enjoyed it well enough, even though it’s pretty generic and counts on the built in family audience showing up.  It will also do well on video too, it’s just not likely to be remembered long by anyone.

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