Oz dominates wizard battle with Burt Wonderstone
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 17, 2013
A magician and a 911 operator attempted to usurp the box office throne this weekend. These films featured a pair of comedy icons and an Academy Award winning actress, but what they lacked was beautiful witches and a powerful wizard. Las Vegas illusionists apparently wouldn’t last a day in the Emerald City.
Once again, first place for the weekend goes to Oz the Great and Powerful, which had little problem defeating the new releases. The Sam Raimi-directed special effects spectacle earned another $42.2 million, down 47% from the previous frame. Bearing in mind the strong opening as well as the tepid reviews, this decline has to be considered a best-case scenario. With a domestic total of $145 million, the Walt Disney production has now passed Identity Thief to become the highest-grossing film of 2013.
More good news comes for the studio in the second weekend international total. Oz earned $46.6 million from overseas venues, which means that its take in those locations has now risen to $136.8 million. Worldwide, the Wizard’s story has tallied $281.8 million, which means that combined revenues should propel it to be a solid financial investment for Disney. The real question will be how well they monetize the property, including toys, home video and sequels.
We can surely expect upsets in later this week as March Madness gets underway, but The Call decided it would get things started early. Not only did it beat The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, the film that was projected to easily be the top new release of the weekend, it did so handily. This victory can probably be considered something like a #12 seed toppling a #5. It’s not so much that it’s surprising that Burt Wonderstone bombed, but rather that The Call found the level of success that it has so far.
Featuring Halle Berry in the lead role (and Little Miss Sunshine Abigail Breslin as the victim of a kidnapper who plans to murder her), the Sony-distributed release earned $17.1 million this weekend from 2,507 locations. That’s good for a $6,821 per venue average, second only to that of Oz the Great and Powerful. In the forecast, we poked a bit of fun at the film for its being a WWE Films production, but it just went and earned its budget back with ease. It’s only 40% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, but it earned a B+ Cinemascore, which is about as good as it gets in 2013.
You’ve figured out by now that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone crashed and burned – the question is how badly. With Steve Carell and Jim Carrey as above-the-title stars (and a strenuous marketing push), expectations should have been high. Trouble is, Carrey’s name doesn’t carry the weight it once did, and while Carell is a popular presence in Hollywood, movies as weird looking as Burt Wonderstone just don’t bring the audiences in. Clearly, there just weren’t enough fat people falling down.
What this means is that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone earned only $10.3 million from a hefty 3,160 locations. Its per venue average was only $3,261. The bad news doesn’t end there, though. Both critics and audiences reviled the movie. At Rotten Tomatoes, Burt Wonderstone received only 57 positive reviews out of 149 collected, which puts it solidly in the “rotten” category. “Top Critics” liked it even less, with only 24% of those individuals finding something to like. Its C+ Cinemascore would indicate that audiences are definitely on the side of those critics. Not only is the opening weekend a disappointment, but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is also going to struggle to recoup its $30 million budget.