Disney’s Oz keeps magic spell on movie box office

NEW YORK: Walt Disney Company’s Oz the Great and Powerful worked more box office magic in its second weekend, following up its strong debut a week earlier with $42.2 million in US and Canadian ticket sales.

The Wizard of Oz prequel starring James Franco topped a stronger-than-expected performance from The Call, a new thriller about a 911 operator played by actor Halle Berry who tries to save a kidnapped teenager. The Call earned $17.1 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a new comedy featuring Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey as dueling Las Vegas magicians, finished the weekend in third place. It conjured up $10.3 million at North American (US and Canadian) theatres — several million less than expected.

Domestic ticket sales for the big-budget, effects-filled Oz dropped 47% from its opening weekend, according to the box office division of Hollywood.com. Movies typically see a 40% to 60% decline in their second weekend of release.

Oz added $46.6 million over the weekend from international markets. Its global total after 10 days reached $282 million, a strong start for a movie that cost $200 million to make plus up to $100 million more to market.

The Call handily beat pre-weekend forecasts of a debut of around $10 million. The $15 million production over-performed on strong word-of-mouth, showing itself to be “a real crowd-pleaser,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Corp’s Sony Pictures studio, which acquired the film from Troika Pictures.

“People like this film a lot, and it’s going to be a big success for us,” Bruer said, adding that “the film could end up doing anywhere from $40 million to $50 million, which would be huge.”

Burt Wonderstone, meanwhile, fell short of some pre-weekend forecasts, which had pegged the debut at $12 million to $15 million. The film had a modest budget of about $30 million, according to Warner Bros.

Rounding out the top of the charts, the big-budget film Jack the Giant Slayer took fourth place with $6.2 million domestically. The global total for the March 1 release, which is trying to make back a $189 million production cost, reached nearly $90 million.

In fifth place, Melissa McCarthy comedy Identity Thief added $4.5 million to its impressive $123.7 million total.

Jack the Giant Slayer was released by Warner Bros and Identity Thief was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corporation.