Box Office: Jack The Giant Slayer Slays Competition Despite Poor $28 Million Opening


Last month I was a zombie looking for love, now I’m slaying giants. Is this job great or what?

Remember the days when a movie opening at above $25 million for the weekend was considered a success? I sure do. But I also remember when blockbuster films weren’t costing in excess of $200 million. The soft opening for Bryan Singer’s Jack and the Giant Slayer signals another bad weekend for Hollywood. Attendance so far this year is way down and this release should have been an easy hit for families. Instead, this retelling of the classic “Jack and the Beanstalk” was tracking slowly on the domestic front. It could very well be this year’s John Carter; both films have massive budgets that failed to attract the expected audience. Warner Bros. had hoped Giant Slayer would make $30 million, which is still a low figure considering the cost to make and market the 3D feature. With the arrival of Oz The Great and Powerful this weekend, it may very well be Jack who gets slayed.

The performance of Jack the Giant Slayer continues a disturbing trend for Warner Bros. This is their fourth consecutive bomb after Gangster Squad, Bullet to the Head and Beautiful Creatures. And with the The Incredible Burt Wonderstone likely to underperform, the studio will have to wait until summer and see if their tentpole releases (The Great Gatsby, The Hangover Part III and Man of Steel) overdeliver to make up for a poor first quarter.

Dropping to second after returning to first place the week before was Identity Thief. Its $9.7 million weekend was enough to put it over nine figures, the first 2013 release to achieve such success. The comedy narrowly beat out Relativity Media’s cheapie crass comedy 21 and Over. Marketed as a Hangover for the college crowd, mainly because it was written and directed by Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, it could not meet studio expectations. Costing a reported $13 million, the film grossed an estimated $9 million. Early projections had it earning mid-$20s, but if my review is any indication, it will die a quick death in the coming weeks.

The Last Exorcism Part II continues the trend to make cheap horror for $5 million or less. The previous installment, released by Lionsgate, opened at $20 million the last week of August 2010. This unnecessary sequel, optioned by CBS Films, could only muster $8 million from 2700 theaters. This film, much like 10th place finisher Dark Skies, will continue to get made because of they are so cheap to produce and market. Yet, for every good cheap horror release (see Sinister) we’ll get a half dozen of these.

Moving down the list is Snitch starring Dwayne Johnson. In two weeks it has made $24.4 million overall. That figure is much better than the domestic number for the latest Die Hard installment when valuing cost vs. success. A Good Day to Die Hard has made $60 million in three weeks. It likely won’t match its production budget of $92 million. But the suits at Fox could care less since they have the international audience. So far the name recognition of the franchise, and ardent, dare I say “die hard,” love of action blockbusters, has seen the film rake in more than $161 million overseas.

Even with Jack the Giant Slayer attracting young viewers, The Weinstein Company’s animated Escape from Planet Earth managed another soft $6.7 million to bring its 3 week total to $43 million. Not bad for an animated property that has one of the worst trailers I’ve seen this year. Anything to keep little Johnny quiet for a few hours, I guess.

In the battle of female viewers, Safe Haven narrowly defeated Silver Linings Playbook for seventh place. The latest Nicolas Sparks adaptation has grossed an estimated $57 million from housewives and grandmothers that can’t get enough of Nicolas Sparks. As for Silver Linings, still playing to crowds after 16 weeks (though for ten weeks the film was playing in limited release), the offbeat romantic comedy has grossed $115 million. However, Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar win only helped to boost the attendance numbers by 3%.

On the limited release front, Park Chan-wook’s American debut, Stoker, played on seven screens and scored an impressive $22.8k per-screen average. Fox Searchlight will slowly roll out this superb Gothic tale to other major cities in the coming weeks. Magnolia’s food advocacy doc, A Place at the Table, earned $84k at 35 locations. The film is also available VOD. Cinema Guild’s documentary on the commercial fishing industry, Leviathan, opened at a single location and earned $10k. And for those who have been losing sleep, waiting for The Hobbit to pass $1 billion worldwide, well you can sleep tight now. Peter Jackson’s first of three Hobbit tales passed that milestone.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for March 1 – March 3, 2013

1. Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner Bros) – $28 MILLION

2. Identity Thief (Universal) – $9.7 MILLION ($107.4m cume)

3. 21 and Over – (Relativity) – $9 MILLION

4. The Last Exorcism Part II (CBS Films) – $8 MILLION

5. Snitch (Summit/Lionsgate) – $7.7 MILLION ($24.4m cume)

6. Escape From Planet Earth (The Weinstein Company) – $6.7 MILLION ($43.2m cume)

7. Safe Haven (Relativity) – $6.3 MILLION ($57.1m cume)

8. Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company) – $5.9 MILLION ($115.5m cume)

9. A Good Day to Die Hard (Fox) – $4.5 MILLION ($59.6m cume)

10. Dark Skies (Weinstein/Dimension Films) – $3.6 MILLION ($13.4m cume)

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