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Weekend Box Office: Oz Proves Great, Powerful and Finally Gives 2013 a Hit

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By Chris Kavan - 03/10/13 at 08:33 PM CT

Ding dong the box office blues are dead... at least for one weekend. Thanks to a fantasy spectacle, 2013 managed to beat the same weekend in 2012 by 7%. While that's not a huge victory - any victory is welcome given that out of the 30 films that have had wide releases in theaters this year - 16 of them have failed to hit the $10 million mark. Hopefully this will be the start of a trend and not a blip.

1) OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

With a reported $215 million budget, a lot was riding on Oz having a monster debut. With $80.28 million, it looks like taking a trip over the rainbow for a prequel was a good move. It's easily the top debut for any film in 2013 (topping Identity Thief's $34.6 million) and represents the third-best opening for any film opening in March - and sixth-best for any movie outside the summer months. Although billed as a family-friendly PG film, audiences were mostly maid up of couples (43%) rather than families (41%). It earned a B+ from those who watched it, meaning it should have no trouble staying on or near the top in coming weeks and a $200 million gross should be in the cards. Although it couldn't boast nearly the poser of Alice in Wonderland, which opened with $116.1 million, it still has to be seen as a great opening.

2) JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

Unsurprisingly, given direct competition from Oz the other big-budget CGI spectacle took a massive 63% blow (the largest for any film in the top 10) and took in $10.02 million raising its total to $43.8 million. In comparison, John Carter fell 55% in its second weekend - ultimately Jack should wind up with less than $60 million if it follows the same course. I don't like throwing the word "bomb" around lightly, but even if international grosses help it out some, you can't say this movie is anything but a disaster.

3) IDENTITY THIEF

The comedy keeps chugging along just fine, adding another $6.32 million to its total that now stands at $116.5 million. Although it won't be able to say it's the highest-grossing film of 2013 for very much longer, the fact remains it has performed above and beyond expectations and director Seth Gordon (along with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy) should be nothing but happy with the results.

4) DEAD MAN DOWN

Another week, another disappointing action film debut. Even with Noomi Rapace reteaming with director Niels Arden Oplev and the addition of Colin Ferrell and Terrence Howard, the film could only muster $5.35 million. That is ahead of Bullet to the Head ($4.55 million) but behind The Last Stand ($6.3 million) in terms of opening numbers. It will join those films in being yet another disappointing action-oriented film.

5) SNITCH

Rounding out the top five is another one of those ubiquitous action films. Dwayne Johnson's Snitch brought in $5.1 million, bringing its total to $31.8 million over three weeks. Considering the vast amount of misses that action films have been throwing out this year, even that low number can be seen as a "win" given the film is not part of any franchise.

Outside the top five: not much to report other than the limited release Emperor brought in a nice $1.04 million at just 260 locations for a decent $4,012 average.

Next week's offering include the comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - the dueling magician film featuring Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin amongst others and The Call, a thriller with Halle Berry trying to help a young woman (Abigail Breslin) who has been kidnapped. I fully expect Oz to repeat as the week's top film.

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