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'Oz' Brings Boffo Box Office, Rest of Field Is Anemic

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood March 9, 2013 at 4:18PM

Disney's "Oz: The Great and Powerful" had a strong opening yesterday, grossing $24 million for the best opening of the year so far--heading toward a likely $75-million-plus total-- and greatly outpacing last week's "Jack the Giant Slayer," which also cost $200 million. But despite the relief both Disney and the industry will feel from this big gross, the underlying problems otherwise seen since the holidays remain.
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'Oz the Great and Powerful,' Weisz and Kunis
'Oz the Great and Powerful,' Weisz and Kunis

Disney's "Oz: The Great and Powerful" had a strong opening yesterday, grossing $24 million for the best opening of the year so far--heading toward a likely $75-million-plus total-- and greatly outpacing last week's "Jack the Giant Slayer," which also cost $200 million. But despite the relief both Disney and the industry will feel from this big gross, the underlying problems otherwise seen since the holidays remain.
 
The top ten films Friday grossed $38 million, a big jump from last week, but up only $3 million from a year ago, when "The Lorax" opened to $17 million on its way to a $70 million weekend. Take away the big new film and the rest of the grosses were an amemic $16 million total for the 2-10 slots yesterday compared to $25 million for them last year. So the uptick came about because of one expensive tentpole film rather than any broadbased return to theaters.
 
The ultimate fate of "Oz" will be more evident with how matinee-fueled weekend grosses flourish as well as parallel international openings. But it does seem to have a shot at hitting the necessary half billion or so gross needed to show a profit. The initial Cinemascore of B+ isn't great -- it's the same as "Jack the Giant Slayer," and the Metascore  of leading critics' reviews for "Oz" actually came in lower. What could propel the film is Disney's massive marketing and the "Wizard of Oz" brand, along with hoped for positive word of mouth.
 
"Jack" meantime fell a disastrous 67% its second Friday, and now looks headed toward a domestic gross no higher than $60 million. The other new opening -- FilmDistrict's "Dead Man Down" -- seems likely to end up no better for fourth this weekend ("Identity Thief" likely takes third) at around $6 million.

Friday 3/8 box office chart



This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Oz The Great And Powerful


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.