UPDATE 1-Disney's 'Oz' prequel scores box office gold

Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:10pm EDT
 
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* Strong $80.3 mln opening in U.S., Canada

* Domestic debut is biggest so far in 2013

* International sales for 'Oz' add $69.9 mln

By Lisa Richwine and Andrea Burzynski

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (Reuters) - There was no place like "Oz" at the weekend box office.

Walt Disney Co's big-budget 3D movie "Oz the Great and Powerful" amassed $80.3 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, the biggest domestic debut of 2013. The prequel starring James Franco added $69.9 million in international markets, Disney said, for a combined $150.2 million opening around the world.

"Oz" dominated all other movies over the weekend, according to studio estimates released on Sunday. Another family film, "Jack the Giant Slayer," finished a distant No. 2 with $10 million domestically during its second weekend. Melissa McCarthy comedy "Identity Thief" landed third with $6.3 million from Friday through Sunday.

The opening numbers for "Oz" provided a strong start for the $200-million production, a prequel to 1939 Hollywood classic "The Wizard of Oz." The movie stars Franco as a small-time magician who is whisked by hot-air balloon to a magical land where he is mistaken for a wizard. Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz play three witches the wizard encounters on his journey.

Disney spent up to $100 million on a marketing campaign that featured the cross-country tour of a bright blue, Oz-themed hot-air balloon, a commercial during the Super Bowl, and movie-related fashions sold on shopping channel HSN.   Continued...