Weekend Box Office: OZ Stays on top; THE CALL Connects, BURT WONDERSTONE Bombs

     March 17, 2013


For a second week in a row, Oz the Great and Powerful reigned at the domestic box office. The Disney hit earned an estimated $42.2 million, down 47% off from last weekend’s debut. But the big news this week is the film that took second place. With an estimated $17.1 million from 2,507 locations, The Call wound up stealing the spotlight from the comedy debut of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

 Title  Weekend Total
1.  Oz the Great and Powerful  $42,222,000 $145
2.  The Call  $17,100,000 $17.1
3.  The Incredible Burt Wonderstone    $10,305,000 $10.3
4.  Jack the Giant Slayer  $6,220,000 $53.9
5.  Identity Thief  $4,500,000 $123.6
6.  Snitch  $3,500,000 $37.2
7.  21 and Over  $2,619,000 $21.8
8.  Silver Linings Playbook  $2,587,000 $124.6
9.  Safe Haven  $2,495,000 $66.9
10.  Escape from Planet Earth  $2,327,000 $53.1

oz-the-great-and-powerful-posterAfter opening with over $79 million last weekend, it was a foregone conclusion that Oz the Great and Powerful would remain on top of the domestic box office. Over ten days in theatres, the Disney feature has earned an estimated $145 million in ten days, crossing the $100 million mark on Thursday. Oz added another $100 million from international markets as of Friday, bringing its worldwide total to approximately $245 million.

Oz certainly looks impressive (especially in light of 2013’s pitiable box office record), though it begins to lose some luster when it’s compared to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Back in 2010, Alice shocked box office watchers with its $116 million debut. Alice soared past $200 million in just ten days: on its way to a domestic total of over $334 million. But Wonderland showed the most muscle in international territories, which accounted for 67% of the film’s final, $1 billion worldwide total.

It may seem unfair to compare Oz the Great and Powerful to Alice in Wonderland, but it is also hard to resist. Both films were made by Disney and based on beloved children’s properties. Both debuted in March and were released in 3D – but that’s where the box office similarities stop. It’s true that Oz has offered a welcome reprieve from 2013’s series of financial flops, but an Alice and Wonderland-sized hit, it is not.

incredible-burt-wonderstone-steve-carell-steve-buscemi-olivia-wilde-1This week, another film was added to the list of 2013’s failures: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Few expected the Warner Brothers comedy to soar, but the presence of Steve Carell and Jim Carrey should have clinched a debut closer to $20 million. Instead, Wonderstone defied even the direst forecasts with its estimated opening of $10.3 million from 3,160 locations. To put that number into perspective, Universal’s Mystery Men opened with just over $10 million in 1999… not adjusted for inflation.

Of course, Wonderstone was budgeted at a relatively thrifty $35 million; but because that number now seems like the most Warner Brothers can hope for from its final US tally, there’s little hope that the studio will be able to diffuse its latest box office bomb.

The failure of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone only added to Warner Brothers’ recent woes, which began with Gangster Squad and hit their nadir with Beautiful Creatures last month. But one studio’s loss is another’s gain and, this weekend, Sony emerged the big winner. The studio (with TriStar), handled distribution for The Call, the R-rated thriller that surprised many box office observers with its second-place finish.

the-call-posterFrom 2,507 locations (653 fewer than Burt Wonderstone) The Call earned $17.1 million. That estimate was 40% higher than pre-release expectations; and although Halle Berry has been active in promoting The Call, star-power hasn’t counted for much at this year’s box office. So why the success? The film received a B+ CinemaScore (though Rotten Tomatoes rates it just 40%), so word of mouth might have played a role. Aside from that, it’s hard to say why The Call connected. This year has been swamped by R-rated thrillers, especially those catering to older male audiences so, perhaps the time was right for a female action hero? Or maybe it’s time to admit that, despite our sophisticated box office models, what appeals to audiences on any given weekend remains a mystery.

On that note, I leave you to puzzle out the future of next weekend’s releases. The failure of Burt Wonderstone could open the door for the Tina Fey comedy Admission, and Fox’s The Croods will surely be welcomed by families who have suffered through the animated desert of the 2013 release schedule. Even if all of three new releases do well, however, they will pale in comparison to The Hunger Games, which opened on the same weekend in 2012. Or maybe I’m selling Olympus Has Fallen a little short?


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  • Sean B

    I see that Oz: The Great and Powerful is doing very good in theaters! That is good news and we can all bet on a sequel definitely coming some time in the near future!

    • sajsdfhbf

      Well Sam Raimi has already stated he won’t return so I doubt that James Franco would return.

      • Sean B

        They’ll both return for the sequel. It’s only a matter of time before Sam Raimi changes his mind and ends up returning ;) . He’ll probably see how much the movie is making and he will decide to return to directt the sequel anyways.

      • Strong Enough

        well i am holding it to you sean. if he doesn’t i am coming back here to laugh at you

  • Seriously?

    I dont see how Burt Wonderstone bombed…it came in third? and its only its first weekend…Oz is some stiff competition. Bomb is a strong word is all im saying.

    • Nicole Pedersen

      It is a strong word and I don’t drag it out very often. But I’m standing by it here. Placing third means less than the number attached to the rank and, in this case, $10 million for a debut with big stars and major marketing is going to be seen as a giant disappointment. I am sure the movie will make its money back on the secondary market, but it won’t double its budget in theatres… ie: bomb.

      • Jose


      • Great white hype

        A movie starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey making only $10 million opening weekend is the definition of bomb. How much do you think the two of them were paid? And the marketing was terrible. And everyone knows Tim Burtons Alice was a terrible movie that made its money off people’s fascination with the 3D fad caused by Avatar. Nobody ever mentions the fact that 90% of that movies 3D was post converted sh*t quality.

  • Scurvy

    I guess I was one of the few people to go see the movie this weekend.

    I enjoyed it. It’s a comedy that makes you laugh, you can’t really ask for much more. It was good to see Jim Carrey bringing back some of the old Jim Carrey.

  • Anonymous

    Went and saw OTGAP and , I didn’t relize Tim Burton was invovled in this but it has his feel all over it more so than Sam Rami and I kept waiting for spider-man or sandman to jump out with the Danny Elfmen soundtrack , It was ok but should flame out after hear say and proabally better in 3d , which I hate but you’ll see it was totally filmed with 3d in mind . Also I can’t believe they just didn’t make stop- motion like most Tim Burton film , very kiddie film .

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