Monday, March 4, 2013

'Jack the Giant Slayer' disappoints but still climbs to the top

This weekend was a disappointing one. Although Jack the Giant Slayer debuted at first place with $28 million, the special-effects heavy picture cost over $200 million, making it a costly flop for
Jack beanstalk giant slayerWarner Bros. There's a chance the action-heavy fairytale adaptation will play better overseas, eventually bringing it to a break-even or profitable position, but at home, it's not good. The studio was aiming for a family-friendly tentpole that also plays well among general audiences, last perfected with Alice in Wonderland, but it didn't happen. That movie had the benefit of director Tim Burton and a better-known story. That may have made at least part of the difference between that fantasy's $116 million opening and this one's $28 million debut.

21 and Over opened to $9 million. Although the R-rated college comedy cribbed a lot of its feel from last year's Project X, it only opened to half as much. Project X was set in high school and used
Stoker matthew gooded mia wasikowskathe found footage style, while 21 and Over was shot classically and upped the age to college. Maybe those things made a difference, or maybe audiences are fatigued of the genre.

The Last Exorcism Part II also fell short. The horror sequel's $8 million opening wasn't even half of the original's $20 million start. Like 21 and Over, its similar predecessor used found footage, while the follow-up didn't. While it seems like the market for found footage films is near-saturated, maybe that's not actually the case.

Placing above 21 and Over and The Last Exorcism Part II was Identity Thief, which dipped just 30% to place second with $9.7 million. In a weak month, Identity Thief was the bright spot.

The weekend after the Oscars was good to the winners. Best Picture recipient Argo rose 20% to $2.2 million, even though it's available on DVD and on-demand. Silver Linings Playbook posted a 3% rise to $5.9 million. Life of Pi, which came away with more awards than many expected, went up 43% to $2.3 million, earning even more than Argo.

Fox Searchlight's Stoker had a strong debut in limited release, averaging $22,000 per screen in seven locations. It's the first prominent indie to release since early January.

This Friday, Oz the Great and Powerful will try its luck at replicating the Alice in Wonderland formula, and FilmDistrict will add the latest adult thriller to the market with Dead Man Down.

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