Disney's "Oz" keeps magic spell on movie box office

Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's "Oz the Great and Powerful" worked more box office magic in its second weekend, following up its strong debut a week earlier with $42.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.

The "Wizard of Oz" prequel starring James Franco topped a stronger-than-expected performance from "The Call," a new thriller about a 911 operator played by Halle Berry who tries to save a kidnapped teenager. "The Call" earned $17.1 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," a new comedy featuring Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey as dueling Las Vegas magicians, finished the weekend in third place. It conjured up $10.3 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters - several million less than expected.

Domestic ticket sales for the big-budget, effects-filled "Oz" dropped 47 percent from its opening weekend, according to the box office division of Hollywood.com. Movies typically see a 40 percent to 60 percent decline in their second weekend of release.

"Oz" added $46.6 million over the weekend from international markets. Its global total after 10 days reached $282 million, a strong start for a movie that cost $200 million to make plus up to $100 million more to market.

"The Call" handily beat pre-weekend forecasts of a debut of around $10 million. The $15 million production overperformed on strong word-of-mouth, showing itself to be "a real crowd-pleaser," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Corp's Sony Pictures studio, which acquired the film from Troika Pictures.

"People like this film a lot, and it's going to be a big success for us," Bruer said, adding that "the film could end up doing anywhere from $40 million to $50 million, which would be huge."

"Burt Wonderstone," meanwhile, fell short of some pre-weekend forecasts, which had pegged the debut at $12 million to $15 million. The film had a modest budget of about $30 million, according to Warner Bros.   Continued...

(From L-R) Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, actress Abigail Spencer, actor James Franco, actresses Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Joey King, Rachel Weisz, actor Zach Braff, producer Joe Roth and director Sam Raimi pose for a picture at the premiere of the Disney movie "Oz the Great and Powerful" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California February 13, 2013. REUTERS/Patrick Fallon