‘Giant Slayer’ Is Top Weekend Film on Sales of $28 Million

“Jack the Giant Slayer,” a 3-D re-imagining of the folktale, opened in first place at theaters in the U.S. and Canada at the weekend, taking in $28 million for Time Warner Inc.’s New Line Cinema.

“Identity Thief” fell to second place from first with $9.7 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. Among other new films, the raunchy comedy “21 & Over” was third in its debut with sales of $9 million for Relativity Media.

“Jack the Giant Slayer” follows a Hollywood trend in producing updated versions of classic stories designed to appeal to teens as well as children. Studios released two Snow White films last year and Walt Disney Co.’s 3-D “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a prequel to the 1939 classic, opens next weekend.

“Jack” had been expected to gross about $30 million in its first weekend, according to Boxoffice.com, the firm’s vice president and chief analyst, Phil Contrino, said in an interview today. “That’s a movie that can end up playing really well overseas and make up for that opening that wasn’t expected,” Contrino said. Box Office Mojo, another researcher, earlier estimated the film would take in $26.1 million.

In “Jack,” the fairy tale is expanded beyond the simple story of Jack’s one-time trip up the beanstalk. In the film, directed by Bryan Singer, Jack’s intrusion rekindles an ancient war between humans and a race of bloodthirsty giants. Nicholas Hoult, who played the character Beast in “X-Men: First Class,” portrays Jack. The film also features Eleanor Tomlinson as the princess Jack encounters during his adventure and Ewan McGregor as Elmont, a warrior who helps Jack take on the giants.

Identity Theft

“Identity Thief” stars Jason Bateman as Sandy Bigelow Patterson, a man whose gender-neutral name enables a woman to assume his identity and wreck his credit. Authorities tell him the only way to resolve the problem is to find the woman and bring her in. The film from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures co-stars Melissa McCarthy as Bateman’s nemesis. Amanda Peet plays Sandy’s wife.

“21 & Over” stars “Twilight” series-cast member Justin Chon as a quiet, hard-working college student who goes on a binge of drink and debauchery the night before a crucial interview to get into medical school. The R-rated film, which also features Miles Teller and Skylar Astin, was estimated to generate $14.7 million.

Below Expectations

“The Last Exorcism Part II” opened in fourth place, taking in $8 million for CBS Films. Ashley Bell returns as Nell Sweetzer, the central figure of 2010’s “The Last Exorcism.” That film, distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., generated $67.7 million in worldwide ticket sales on a production budget of $1.8 million. The new film cost about $5 million, and was forecast to have sales of $12.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Snitch,” starring Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, fell to fifth place from last week’s second slot for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. with sales of $7.7 million. The film, inspired by true events, features Johnson as a divorced father who agrees to infiltrate a drug cartel to keep his son, wrongly accused of dealing, out of prison, and also features Susan Sarandon and Barry Pepper.

“Escape From Planet Earth,” a 3-D animated feature from Weinstein Co., fell to sixth from third with sales of $6.7 million. In “Escape,” a heroic astronaut from the planet Baab ignores the misgivings of his brother and colleagues to respond to an SOS that turns out to be a trap. The movie features the voices of Brendan Fraser, Sofia Vergara and Ricky Gervais.

Revenue Slides

Revenue for the top 12 films fell 38 percent to $94.4 million from the year-earlier weekend, Hollywood.com said. Sales for the first nine weeks of the year are down 7.8 percent to $1.6 billion. Attendance is down 8.9 percent.

This year “has a lot to live up to because 2012 was a record year in terms of the North American box office,” said Boxoffice.com’s Contrino. “There were some really strong movies that opened at the end of 2011 and spilled over into 2012; I don’t think the first quarter of 2013 had the same boost as the previous year did.”

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for March 1-2 and estimates for today.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
1 JACK GIANT SLAYER    $28.0   3,525   $7,946   --    $28.0   1
2 IDENTITY THIEF         9.7   3,230    3,005   -31   107.4   4
3 21 AND OVER            9.0   2,771    3,248   --      9.0   1
4 LAST EXORCISM PART II  8.0   2,700    2,974   --      8.0   1
5 SNITCH                 7.7   2,511    3,067   -42    24.4   2
6 ESCAPE PLANET EARTH    6.7   3,110    2,163   -37    43.2   3
7 SAFE HAVEN             6.3   2,951    2,135   -40    57.1   3
8 SILVER LININGS         5.9   1,836    3,236     3   115.5  16
9 GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD   4.5   2,589    1,738   -56    59.6   3
10 DARK SKIES            3.6   2,313    1,537   -57    13.5   2
11 WARM BODIES           2.7   1,930    1,373   -45    62.0   5
12 LIFE OF PI            2.3     626    3,674    43   116.9  15

Top 12 Films Grosses:
   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
     $94.4        $152.5        -38

Year-to-date Revenue:
     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $1,551.0      $1,683.1      -8

Year-to-date Attendance:        -9%
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