By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood March 3, 2013 at 1:16PM
Yet another down weekend: the top ten grossed 37% less than 2012's total, continuing a multi-week trend that is becoming a major problem. Grosses did climb a bit from last week, but the new films -- led by $200 million would-be tentpole "Jack the Giant Slayer" -- had much greater potential. None looks like it will enjoy any sort of sustained run, even if "Jack" slightly exceeded last-minute projections.
Among the top Oscar winners, only "Argo" is out on DVD; the Best Picture winner managed to take in an additional $2.2 million. Winners "Lincoln," "Django Unchained" and "Les Miserables" scored only modest returns after successful runs. "Silver Linings Playbook" outran all of them to remain in the top 10.
One other new release, "Phantom" from RCR, was dead on arrival. It will only total around $500,000 on just over 1,000 screens.
1. Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner Bros.) NEW - Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic score: 50
$28,010,000 in 3,525 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $7.946; Cumulative: $28,010,000
After a weak Friday, this $200-million budget Bryan Singer film picked up on Saturday with kids' interest and 3-D charges elevating this to a weekend total actually above the tepid advance estimates. That said, the gross is still below what Disney's "John Carter" grossed last March ($30 million on its way to a $73 domestic/$283 million worldwide total), which with an even higher gross was considered one of the major flops of 2012.
Co-produced by Warners' unit New Line along with Legendary (which has bankrolled Christopher Nolan's films and "Hangover" among others), "Jack" was initially set for release last summer, then delayed for more special effects work. Warners positioned the fairy tale actioner for early March release with the potential for being the first smash of the year ("The Lorax" the same weekend last year grossed $70 million) and to take advantage of upcoming school holiday weeks. Instead the picture will likely end up the third best opening of the year (after Universal's "Identity Thief" and "Mama"), not good when "Jack" cost four times as much as those two films' budgets combined.
This is Singer's first film since Tom Cruise vehicle "Valkyrie," which eked out $200 million worldwide, following the grand-scale "X-Men" films and "Superman Returns." It was co-written by Christopher McQuarrie, with whom he collaborated on his breakout film, "The Usual Suspects." The five listed producers include Neil Moritz, whose recent films include the "Fast and Furious" franchise, "Battleship: Los Angeles," "Total Recall" and "21 Jump Street."
What comes next: The film needs to gross over $400 million worldwide to have even a chance at profit. The international launch began this weekend, where the film will have to do over $300 million to get to that worldwide level, which seems unlikely.
2. Identity Thief (Universal) Week 4 - Last Weekend: #1
$9,700,000 (-31%) in 3,230 theaters (+8); PSA: $3,005; Cumulative: $107,400,000
Topping $100 million the same weekend as did "Bridesmaids" (which also hit $107 million as well), this is falling faster but still holding well. Its #2 position is a sign of weak overall business ("Bridesmaids" was #5 at $12 million at the same point), but it remains the biggest success of the year so far, with the end not yet in sight.
What comes next: Though its best days are over in the U.S., this is still on track to hit $130 million or more. The rest of the world still has to open this, which will make tan even nicer profit for this $35 million production.