‘Evil Dead’ Tops U.S. Box Office With $26 Million in Receipts

“Evil Dead,” a remake of director Sam Raimi’s demonic possession tale, was the top weekend film at U.S. and Canadian theaters, opening with $26 million in ticket sales for distributor Sony Corp.

A 3-D reissue of Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” was fourth in its debut, taking in $18.2 million for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Both pictures, the weekend’s only new releases, tested moviegoers’ interests in revisiting ground-breaking classics. Raimi, director of three “Spider-Man” films, kickstarted his career with 1981’s “The Evil Dead” by giving audiences an overload of gore and campy humor. In “Jurassic Park,” released in 1993, Spielberg’s computer-generated dinosaurs set new standards for life-like special effects.

“This new ‘Evil Dead’ has only a $17 million reported budget, so not a bad profit margin for the update,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s box-office unit.

Dergarabedian said it was a “solid” weekend overall, noting that sales rose from the year-ago period. The top 12 films grossed $127.5 million, a 9 percent increase from last year, figures show.

Havoc, Mayhem

“Evil Dead,” was expected to take in $25.2 million over the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the film had $4.5 million in receipts.

“Evil Dead” follows a group of young adults who gather in a remote cabin to help a friend through a cold-turkey bid to kick heroin. Early in the process, one of the gang reads from a book of magic, inadvertently inviting a demon to join the gathering. The malevolent spirit wreaks havoc and mayhem as it possesses several of them in turn.

The film, produced by Raimi and directed by Fede Alvarez, stars Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez. The script, based on Raimi’s original, was written by Alvarez and “Juno” writer Diablo Cody.

“Jurassic Park” is the latest film from Hollywood’s archives to be released in the three-dimensional format. In Spielberg’s action classic, the technology provides a fresh perspective on velociraptors’ relentless hunt for two hiding children and the terror after a tyrannosaurus breaks loose.

‘The Croods’

The original movie spawned two sequels, creating a trilogy that has taken in $1.9 billion in worldwide ticket sales, with almost half from the original, according to Box Office Mojo. The website forecast $16.3 million in receipts for this past weekend.

Two films tied for second: “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” a Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures sequel to the 2009 film about elite U.S. commandos, and “The Croods” from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Both films had $21.1 million in receipts. “G.I. Joe” opened in first place last week.

In the new “G.I. Joe,” 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.

“The Croods,” which was released on April 4, follows a prehistoric family of cave dwellers as they seek a new life after a shift in earth’s crust destroys their home. The movie features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.

“Olympus Has Fallen,” a thriller about terrorism from the independent distributor FilmDistrict, fell to fifth from fourth, taking in $10 million. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the movie features Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent saving America from a band of North Koreans who capture the White House, shoot up Washington and threaten the president.

Sales year-to-date year are down 11 percent to $2.46 billion, Hollywood.com said. Attendance is down 12 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for April 5 and April 6 and estimates for yesterday.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
1 EVIL DEAD            $26.0   3,025   $8,595   --    $26.0   1
2 THE CROODS            21.1   3,879    5,440   -21   125.8   3
2 G.I. JOE              21.1   3,734    5,651   -48    86.7   2
4 JURASSIC PARK 3-D     18.2   2,771    6,585   --     18.2   1
5 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN    10.04  3,059    3,283   -29    71.1   3
6 T. PERRY TEMPTATION   10.0   2,047    4,885   -54    38.4   2
7 OZ THE GREAT           8.2   2,905    2,813   -30   212.8   5
8 THE HOST               5.2   3,202    1,636   -51    19.7   2
9 THE CALL               3.5   2,002    1,748   -29    45.5   4
10 ADMISSION             2.1   1,407    1,460   -36    15.4   3
11 SPRING BREAKERS       1.2   1,072    1,119   -57    12.6   4
12 IDENTITY THIEF        0.8     721    1,135   -25   131.3   9

Top 12 Film Grosses:

  This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $127.5        $116.6        +9

Year-to-date Revenue:

2013 2012

YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $2,468.5 $2,785.3 -11 Year-to-date Attendance: -12%