In advance of the weekend debut of Oz the Great and Powerful, starring James Franco in the title role, some box-office gurus had predicted disaster for it, while others forecast that it would earn $90-100 million. As it turned out, according to studio estimates, it made a solid $80.3 million -- about $5 million more than the studio's own forecast. The Disney 3D movie premiered with $24 million on Friday, including $2 million from midnight screenings on Thursday. But as families flocked to the theater on Saturday, ticket sales for the movie leaped to $33 million. The studio estimated that it would take in an additional $23.3 million today (Sunday), but given the dearth of family films at the box office currently, that estimate could prove to be unduly conservative. (Its only competition, Warner Bros.' Jack the Giant Slayer, which debuted DOD last week with just $27 million, came in second this week with $10 million.) The Oz opening fell far short of Disney's 2010 blockbuster, Alice in Wonderland, but that film, which also opened in March, debuted at a time when 3D was still a big draw (and Johnny Depp is a far bigger box-office draw than James Franco). The record for a March opening was set by last year's The Hunger Games with a $152-million opening. But Oz is now on the books with the third-best March opening and it helped lift the box office to a win over last year for the first time in seven weeks. Meanwhile, Dead Man Down, the only other film to open this weekend, lived up to its title as it took in just $5.4 million, well below forecasts.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Oz The Great and Powerful, $80.28 million; 2. Jack the Giant Slayer, $10.02 million; 3. Identity Thief, $6.32 million; 4. Dead Man Down, $5.35 million; 5. Snitch, $5.10 million; 6. 21 and Over, $5.05 million; 7. Safe Haven, $3.80 million; 8. Silver Linings Playbook, $3.75 million; 9. Escape From Planet Earth, $3.21 million; 10. The Last Exorcism Part II, $3.12 million.