'Giant Slayer' scares up a ho-hum $28 million
05:00 AM, Mar 05, 2013
Unfortunately for Hollywood, Jack didn’t quite slay any giants this weekend.
Director Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer, a big-budget 3-D action epic based on the Jack and the Beanstalk legend, took the top spot at the box office with $28 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
But it has much more of a beanstalk to climb for a profit margin: The budget of Jack, starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, was about $200 million.
“The male audience has kind of checked out so far this year, and Jack the Giant Slayer was really relying on that male audience to come out and support the movie,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.
The weekend’s second-place movie, the Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy Identity Thief, continued to impress, adding $9.7 million to its overall $107.4 million and continuing its streak as the top-grossing movie of the year, Dergarabedian says.
The comedy 21 and Over, a Hangover-type film for the younger crowd, opened with $9 million and came in third. And another newcomer, the horror sequel The Last Exorcism II, had a devil of a time, collecting just over $8 million for fourth place. That’s in contrast to the first Last Exorcism, which racked up more than $20 million when it opened in late August 2010.
“Usually horror movies do well, and they’re pretty consistent performers,” Dergarabedian says.
A strong indicator that new movies are just not grabbing audiences, he adds, is the continued presence of many Oscar best-picture nominees, including Argo, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi, in the top 20. “Some of these films have been out for months, and they’re able to compete in the marketplace with brand-new films,” he says. “That tells me the new films are not doing what they’re supposed to do.”
The Dwayne Johnson action film Snitch rounded out the top five with $7.7 million.
Hollywood is feeling Jack’s pain. It has been a tough 2013 so far, with six straight down weekends compared to the previous year’s. In 2012 this same weekend, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax opened to more than $70 million.
There needs to be momentum at the box office, says Dergarabedian, and that could come as soon as Friday. The family-friendly Oz: The Great and Powerful is already tracking strong and could have a Lorax-type opening, or possibly score even more than $75 million.
“We really have to hope that Oz is as great and powerful as we think it’s going to be to get us back on track,” Dergarabedian says. “All it takes is one movie to really break out, to do well, to be a blockbuster and to turn things around.”
Final figures for the weekend box office will be released Monday.