‘Oz’ Leads Weekend Box Office With Sales of $41.3 Million

“Oz the Great and Powerful,” Walt Disney Co.’s prequel to the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz,” led box-office sales for a second weekend, taking in $41.3 million at theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

“Oz” sales were more than double those of the weekend’s new releases, the thriller “The Call” and the Steve Carell comedy “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is benefiting from March school vacations, which have boosted attendance of younger children and their parents. Inspired by L. Frank Baum’s novels, the 3-D film opened last week with sales of $79.1 million, the year’s best debut and the third-best-ever March opening.

“It’s scratched an itch,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, another researcher. “Adults see it because they get the references to the first movie and kids can see the funny talking animals.”

The movie will face tougher competition this week when DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. releases “The Croods,” about a Stone Age family with generational issues. That movie is expected to take $40 million in opening-weekend sales, according to Boxoffice.com.

Con Artist

“Oz” stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, a circus con artist who arrives in the magical land after his hot-air balloon is caught in a tornado. He gets tangled in a conflict involving three witches that will determine the future of Oz. The film also features Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams.

The movie, directed by Sam Raimi, was forecast to generate $44 million in its second weekend, according to Boxoffice.com. It has taken in $144.1 million since opening on March 8.

In “The Call,” which finished second, Halle Berry plays an emergency-services dispatcher who gets a call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted. The film, from Sony Corp., took in $17.1 million. It also features Abigail Breslin and Michael Imperioli.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., collected $10.2 million for third place. It features Carell as a superstar magician whose career is threatened by an upcoming rival played by Jim Carrey. Steve Buscemi and Olivia Wilde co-star.

Thriller Premise

“The Call” benefited from a “very clear and striking thriller premise,” said Brandon Gray, an independent box-office analyst and former president of Box Office Mojo, an industry tracker.

“In the case of ‘Burt Wonderstone,’ it was a tough sell because Steve Carell was playing against type,” Gray added. “His most successful pictures have featured him as a straight man, whereas in ‘Burt Wonderstone’ he’s in character garb and didn’t come off as relatable in the marketing.”

“Jack the Giant Slayer,” from Warner Bros.’s New Line Cinema, fell to fourth place from second with $6.3 million. The film, a 3-D re-imagination of the children’s fairy tale, has taken in $54 million since it arrived in theaters on March 1.

In the film, directed by Bryan Singer, Jack’s ascent up the beanstalk 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.

Jason Bateman

“Identity Thief,” from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, was fifth with $4.4 million in receipts. The comedy stars Jason Bateman as Sandy Bigelow Patterson, a man whose gender-neutral name enables a woman to assume his identity and wreck his credit. The film co-stars Melissa McCarthy as Bateman’s nemesis. Amanda Peet plays Sandy’s wife.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 1.6 percent to $96.2 million from the year-earlier weekend, Hollywood.com said. Sales this year are down 12 percent to $1.88 billion. Attendance is down 13 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for March 15 to March 17.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 OZ THE GREAT       $41.3    3,912  $10,545  -48   $144.1    2
 2 THE CALL            17.1    2,507    6,828   --     17.1    1
 3 INCREDIBLE BURT     10.2    3,160    3,221   --     10.2    1
 4 JACK GIANT SLAYER    6.3    3,357    1,881  -36     54.0    3
 5 IDENTITY THIEF       4.4    2,842    1,555  -30    123.6    6
 6 SNITCH               3.5    2,353    1,489  -31     37.3    4
 7 21 AND OVER          2.7    2,424    1,101  -48     21.9    3
 8 SILVER LININGS       2.5    1,602    1,577  -30    124.6   18
 9 SAFE HAVEN           2.5    2,206    1,112  -35     66.9    5
10 ESCAPE FROM EARTH    2.3    2,211    1,058  -27     52.2    5
11 DEAD MAN DOWN        2.1    2,188      972  -60      9.4    2
12 LAST EXORCISM        1.3    1,575      810  -60     14.4    3

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $96.2 $97.8 -1.6

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $1,880 $2,136 -12 Year-to-date Attendance: -13%
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