Jackie Robinson Film ‘42’ Tops U.S. Weekend Theater Sales

The Jackie Robinson biography “42” opened as the top weekend film at theaters in the U.S. and Canada, taking in $27.5 million for Legendary Pictures and distributor Time Warner Inc. (TWX)

The spoof “Scary Movie 5,” was second in its debut, taking in $14.2 million for Weinstein Co.’s Dimension Films, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“42” is the first independent production for Legendary, which is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Tull and best known for the “Dark Knight” films. The company, whose financing and co-production agreement with Warner Bros. expires at this end of the year, is developing three more on its own, including the action films “Great Wall” and “Pacific Rim.”

“What you have here is Jackie Robinson making history again, because ‘42’ had the best opening in history for a baseball movie,” Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer at Boxofficeguru.com, said in by telephone. “It’s a story that’s long overdue. You have baseball fans interested in seeing that story finally come to the big screen. Plus, you have the human drama of it that makes it a film with broad appeal.”

Exceeded Expectations

In “42” Chadwick Boseman stars as the first black to play Major League Baseball. Harrison Ford co-stars as Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who recruited Robinson and helped him deal with the racism of fans and players. The film, made for $40 million, was expected to take in $21.1 million this weekend, the estimate of Box Office Mojo.

“Scary Movie 5” continues the series poking fun at the horror genre. The latest version takes on the recent trend of possession movies by focusing on a couple who are stalked by a demon soon after they bring their newborn home from the hospital.

The first four films generated $818.2 million in global ticket sales. The new installment cost about $20 million and was forecast to take in $17.6 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

No Steam

“This proved to be an unnecessary sequel, and audiences rejected it,” Pandya said. “It shows that the franchise has run out of steam.”

“The Croods,” about a prehistoric family of cave dwellers, was third with $13.1 million in receipts for DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) The movie, featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, has taken in $142.4 million after four weeks in theaters.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” a sequel to the 2009 film from Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures about elite U.S. commandos, was fourth with $10.9 million. This time the troops battle a government plot to destroy their team while fending off mortal enemy Cobra. Dwayne Johnson stars as Joe team member Roadblock. Adrianne Palicki plays trooper Lady Jaye, and Channing Tatum returns as Duke.

‘Evil Dead’

“Evil Dead” dropped to fifth place from first, taking in $9.5 million for Sony Corp. The film, a remake of director Sam Raimi’s horror tale, follows a group of young adults who gather in a remote cabin to help a friend through a cold-turkey bid to kick heroin, and inadvertently trigger a malevolent spirit to join them.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 2 percent to $108.8 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Sales this year are down 11 percent to $2.62 billion. Attendance has declined 12 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for April 12 to April 14.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 42                 $27.5    3,003   $9,153   --    $27.5    1
 2 SCARY MOVIE V       14.2    3,402    4,161   --     14.2    1
 3 THE CROODS          13.1    3,689    3,555  -36    142.4    4
 4 G.I. JOE            10.9    3,535    3,082  -48    102.5    3
 5 EVIL DEAD            9.5    3,025    3,137  -63     41.5    2
 6 JURASSIC PARK        8.9    2,778    3,190  -52     32.0    2
 7 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN   7.3    2,935    2,470  -29     81.9    4
 8 OZ THE GREAT         4.9    2,504    1,941  -39    219.4    6
 9 TYLER PERRY          4.5    1,805    2,495  -55     45.4    3
10 PLACE BEYOND PINES   3.9      514    7,521  450      5.2    3
11 THE HOST             2.4    2,172    1,097  -54     23.4    3
12 THE CALL             2.0    1,630    1,198  -44     48.6    5

Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $108.8        $106.7      +2.0

Year-to-date Revenue

     2013          2012
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $2,619        $2,951       -11

Year-to-date Attendance:      -12%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Inyoung Hwang in New York at ihwang7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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