Box Office Oblivion Tom CruiseSATURDAY 7:30 AM, 3RD UPDATE: Americans last night did stay glued to their TVs watching the network wrapups about the Boston Marathon manhunt and its captures and killings. (The Boston area itself was on a citywide lockdown most of Friday but only accounts for 1% of total moviegoing in the U.S.) So numbers came in slightly lower for Universal’s 2D scifi film Oblivion starring Tom Cruise and based on an original script but also on derivative storylines from no less than 4 scripters (Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski as well as William Monahan, Karl Gajdusek, and Michael Arndt). Friday grossed $13.3M in 3,782 theaters including large format and IMAX with no other new major release as competition. Even with only a ‘B-‘ CinemaScore from audiences possibly hurting word of mouth, it’s predicted to open with an overperforming $38.5M this weekend. That includes the Thursday late shows and Friday midnights which together made an estimated $1,103,839 start from 1,741 venues. (Hard to talk about comps because the sneaky studios keep starting their weekend previews earlier and earlier and then fold in those Thursday/Friday totals to pad first-day numbers.)

Universal readily admits it cast Cruise because he’s still a big star overseas. Not only did the genre film open big abroad by going into Friday with $77M already in the till. But this weekend’s domestic tracking has been decent not just among older males but wider. All good news – until you realize that Universal is claiming the pic cost $120M. I’m told the actual negative cost was $160M but , after $20M in production benefits, the final cost to the studio was $140M. The big pricetag will greatly impact not just the film’s multiple but also its ability to earn out. On the other hand, this is one of Tom’s bigger openings for a non-Mission: Impossible actioner as long as inflation and higher ticket prices aren’t taken into account. His 2005’s War Of the Worlds opened to $65.8M and 2002’s Minority Report $35.6M because they were sci-fi thrillers directed by box office bait Steven Spielberg. But Cruise this time only (and we all know that Disney’s Tron sequel sucked) although the Oblivion director received uneven praise for this new one’s visuals and plot. I happen to think what’s helping the pic at the box office are fanboys who wanna see those three new trailers accompanying it on the big screen: the incredibly cool Man Of Steel, the comedic curiosity Lone Ranger, and the don’t-know-what-to-make-of-it-yet R.I.P.D.. Oblivion is produced by Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark and Kosinski and its supporting cast includes Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo. More analysis later Saturday.

Here’s the refined Top Ten list based on Friday estimates:

JJ Evans
1 year
The only studio still using set terms is Sony with 70 - 60 - 50 - 40...
fixated, appalled, and
1 year
Very generous of Cruise to share credit with Free Man above the title. His is not a...
Baltimore Jack
1 year
How many is "a lot"? It made close to $40 million. Apparently, "a lot" of people wanted...

1. Oblivion (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,783] PG13
Friday $13.3M, Weekend $37.5M

2. 42 (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,250] PG13
Friday $5.1M (-44%) Weekend $17.6M, Cume $53.7M

3. The Croods (DreamWorks Animation/Fox) Week 5 [Runs 3,435] PG
Friday $2.2M, Weekend $9.7M, Cume $155.2M

4. Scary Movie 5 (Dimension/Weinstein) Week 2 [Runs 3,402] PG13
Friday $2.0M (-64%), Weekend $5.89, Cume $22.6m

5. GI Joe: Retaliation (Paramount) Week 4 [Runs: 3,175] PG13
Friday $1.5M, Weekend $5.7M, Cume $111.2M

6. The Place Beyond The Pines (Focus) Week 4[Runs 1,542] R
Friday $1.4M, Weekend $4.5M, Cume $11.3M

7. Evil Dead (FilmDistrict/TriStar/Sony) Week 3 [Runs 2,823] R
Friday $1.3M, Weekend $3.9M, Cume $48.3M

8. Olympus Has Fallen (FilmDistrict) Week 5 [Runs 2,638] R
Friday $1.2M, Weekend $4.3M, Cume $88.7M

9. Jurassic Park 3D (Universal) Week 3 [Runs 2,330] PG13
Friday $1.0M, Weekend $3.8M, Cume $38.3M

10. Oz The Great And Powerful (Disney) Week 7 [Runs 2,045] PG
Friday $758K, Weekend $3.0M, Cume $223.7M