SUNDAY 8 AM, 4TH UPDATE: Jetlagged from traveling but home at last. Let’s start with the domestic bad news because that’s what Hollywood craves. New Line’s The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (3,160 theaters) is a complete disaster despite no fresh comedy at the multiplex since Identity Thief opened five weeks ago. This is Warner Bros’ 5th straight box office dud, continuing what has been an abysmal beginning of the year. Despite Warner Bros’ Best Picture Oscar win for Ben Affleck’s Argo, the studio’s woes began with Gangster Squad in January and continued with Bullet To The Head and Beautiful Creatures through February, and festered with the $200 million flop Jack The Giant Slayer on March 1st. Now the studio is counting on May to deliver big grosses again with The Great Gatsby, The Hangover Part III, and the much anticipated Man Of Steel. Any hope for an upside because of the casting of Steve Carell and Jim Carrey (who’s in the Witness Protection Program in the trailers) is gone even with a modest $32M production budget. Those stars should have delivered at least a $20M if not $30M opening. Instead their pic only maxed $10.3M for its first weekend after grossing only $3.7M Friday and $4.1M Saturday. And, remember, that includes 1,800 Thursday late shows, too. Even worse, pic scored a ‘C+’ CinemaScore which will hurt word of mouth along with a dismal 25% positive reviews from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. What’s interesting to me is how many famous names are on the movie. Carell and Steve Buscemi play a washed-up Las Vegas magician duo, with Carrey in a small but flashy role as a rival street performer. It also starred Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini. It was directed by veteran TV helmer Don Scardino while Tyler Mitchell is credited with the story, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley credited with rewrites, and no less than Jason Reitman credited with the polish. There’s a long list of credited producers, including Chris Bender and JC Spink of the management firm Benderspink, and Carell’s banner Carousel Productions which he runs with Vance DeGeneres who is Ellen’s older brother. Burt Wonderstone was picked to open the SXSW film festival even though anyone could see that this movie was going nowhere. Everyone I talked to thought it would be weak from the get-go because magic just doesn’t sell at the box office. The marketing campaign fell on Carell’s shoulders with Carrey just a hired hand and not plugging the pic.
Burt was beaten badly by Sony/TriStar’s new Troika/WWE Studios pickup starring Halle Berry, The Call (2,507 theaters). It shocked Hollywood for 2nd place and earned a ‘B+’ Cinema with $6.2M for Friday box office and $6.8M Saturday for a $17.1M first weekend. Even though the low-budget kidnap thriller is playing in 653 fewer locations. “Huge credit to Halle and all her hard work,” a Sony exec gushes. Grosses are coming in higher than expected by Sony which acquired U.S., Canada and a few other territories like South Africa and Scandinavia. The film was produced for mere mid-teens. That said, its plot was a lot like 2004’s Cellular starring Kim Basinger and Chris Evans only with the roles reversed. This time, kidnap victim Abigail Breslin is young and Veteran 911 operator Berry is tracking her down. Naturally Sony’s media campaign targeted females as well as the African American audience. TV ads ran on crime/thriller shows but also The Bachelor and Army Wives while Berry pulled out all the talk show stops. The campaign began early with a teaser trailer on Yahoo in January. There also was an online game called ‘You Make the Call’ which put users in the 911 operator’s chair. Brad Anderson (The Machinist) directed the screenplay written by Richard D’Ovidio.
And #1 in the marketplace and still great news for Disney is its $218M holdover Oz The Great And Powerful. This juggernaut at the box office had a strong midweek performance now that about 18% of kids are out of school for spring break. And there’s still little else in the way of family fare in the marketplace at this time. Now expect a 10-day domestic total of around $145M with $11.4M Friday and $18.2M Saturday for $42.2M for this second weekend – down only -46.6%. This Wizard Of Oz prequel crossed the $100M domestic mark in only 6 days and North American cume now stands at $145M. “We benefited by the fact that that we were the first big event film which had the halo effect of people talking about it over the weekend and wanting to go see it if they didn’t have the chance,” a Disney exec analyzes. Oz crossed $100M international on Friday with 80% of the marketplace open and big countries like France & China left to go. Currently in release in 55 territories representing about 85% of all foreign, overseas gross is $136.8M and worldwide cume is $281.8M and counting. I’m told international drop off is about -43% with a slightly larger expected drop in Russia (-68%). (If you take Russia out, the drop was only 35%.) Pic was still #1 in UK, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
This weekend’s total moviegoing is in the neighborhood of $103M – about even wth last year’s. Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:
1. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) Week 2 [Runs 3,912] PG
Friday $11.4M, Saturday $18.2M, Weekend $42.2M (-46.6%), Cume $145.0M
2. The Call (Troika/TriStar/Sony) NEW [Runs 2,507] R
Friday $6.2M, Saturday $6.8M, Weekend $17.1M
3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros) NEW [Runs 3,160] PG13
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $4.1M, Weekend $10.3M
4. Jack The Giant Slayer (Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 3,357] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6.3M, Cume $54.0M
5. Identity Thief (Universal) Week 6 [Runs 2,842] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.0M, Weekend $4.5M, Cume $123.70M
6. Snitch (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 4 [Runs 2,353] PG13
Friday $1.0K, Saturday $1.5M, Weekend $3.6M, Cume $37.3M
7. 21 And Over (Relativity) Week 3 [Runs 2,424] R
Friday $950K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.6M, Cume $21.9M
8. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 18 [Runs 1,602] R
Friday $745K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $124.5M
9. Safe Haven (Relativity) Week 5 [Runs 2,206] PG13
Friday $840K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.4M, Cume $66.9M
10. Escape From Planet Earth (Weinstein) Week 5 [Runs 2,211] PG
Friday $619K, Saturday $962K, Weekend $2.2M, Cume $52.0M