'Oz' follows the yellow brick road to No. 1 again
05:00 AM, Mar 17, 2013
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone didn’t have enough up his sleeve to pull off much at the box office this weekend, particularly with another magician in the mix.
Despite an advertising blitz and two high-profile comedians in Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, Wonderstone managed to muster $10.3 million and a flat third place, falling to another expert in smoke and mirrors — Oz the Great and Powerful — and a low-budget thriller.
REVIEW: ‘Oz’ is good, escapist fun
The prequel to The Wizard of Oz captured the top spot at theaters for the second consecutive weekend, conjuring $42.2 million, according to studio estimates from box office tracking firm Hollywood.com. The film became the highest-grossing movie of 2013 this weekend with a total of $145 million.
The sophomore effort was plenty to hold off meek competition this weekend, though the Halle Berry thriller The Call surprised critics by debuting in second place with $17.1 million.
The haul was well above most analysts’ projections, which hovered around $7 million.
While critics were tough on the $13 million film just 40% gave it a positive review, says poll site Rottentomatoes.com a solid 72% of fans said they enjoyed it, according to the site.
Tim Briody of the site Boxofficeprophets.com calls The Call’s opening “the biggest surprise of the weekend.”
He says the film mustered a nifty trick on a weekend dominated by magic. The movie, he says, is “providing a viable box-office alternative in what’s been a fairly weak year so far.”
Wonderstone didn’t do much for the cause. The film scored a thumbs-up from just 39% of critics and 63% of moviegoers, Rottentomatoes.com says.
Analysts expected the film to snatch at least $18 million from the multiplex, but Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo says the film is off to an “awful” start.
“That’s one of the worst starts ever” for stars Carell and Carrey, Subers says.
“It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out that this is kind of bad,” Briody says. “There is no spell to save it from mediocrity.”
The fairy tale update Jack the Giant Slayer took fourth place with $6.2 million, followed by the Melissa McCarthy comedy Identity Thief with $4.5 million.
Final figures are due Monday.