Still very much in my post-Oscar hangover, somewhat enjoying one of the few breaks I take each year, I felt compelled to write about the box office and what the “Oz” prequel has been doing. Or should I say, not doing? Fact is, “Oz The Great and Powerful” cost $215 million to make, so even though it has earned a hefty $280.8 million worldwide, it’s far from a success. Yes, only in Hollywood do we measure failure’s in million’s, but hey, given the build-up to this film, that’s just how I see it thus far. Plus, the reviews are not great, which sort of speaks volumes when you figure how many of us adored the original. And if you start to break down the half-way decent reviews, most of them focus on things like the talking monkey and China Girl, two characters that were good, but not good enough to make this film soar like its predecessor. I know, unfair comparison, but it’s all we got and really, what else can we compare this spectacle of a film to anyway, “Alice in Wonderland?” That film wasn’t trying to be something it’s not, which is why it probably went on to earn over a billion worldwide; so let’s be serious and just call “Oz” what it is, which is a disappointment, plain and simple.
Call me a hater if you want, but no matter what this film earns the rest of the way, this is not the start Disney wanted, secretly hoping it would have the same magic “Alice in Wonderland” had just three years ago when it was released this same week of the year. And keep in mind, “Alice in Wonderland” opened in roughly 200 fewer locations, which for a 3-D film is worth noting. Because even though it was just three years ago, the market wasn’t flooded with 3-D films like it is now. In fact, “Alice in Wonderland” was just the second major film to be released in 3-D after “Avatar.” Sure, there were “other” films that fooled around with 3-D before, but not in any way like “Avatar.” So, thank you James Cameron for unofficially changing the landscape in Hollywood, as since “Avatar,” we have watched over 110 films get released in 3-D. The 28 years before that, only 47 films were released in that format. That’s quite the jump in a little less than three years and why you have to factor in this reinvented 3-D technology into the equation. Because without it, this new “Oz” would have earned practically nothing when you figure 53% of its earnings came from the higher 3-D ticket sales 10 days ago, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Speaking of not earning much, just take a look at the rest of the list of films currently out in theaters. What a sad state of affairs this is, as only one of them has passed over the coveted $100 million mark this year. Only “Identity Theif” has gone over the century mark outside the aforementioned “Oz,” having earned a little over $126 million according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Granted, it’s been out for nearly 40 days, but it’s still something to note when you figure the next closest film to it is the already forgotten “Safe Haven.” It ranks in at number nine this week after dropping two spots from a week ago. So, give it up to Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy for at least achieving that goal domestically, one that no other 2013 film in the top 20 can claim. Moving up from there, we have the over-budget and extremely overdone “Jack the Giant Slayer.” Here’s a film that cost $195 million to make and as of this column, has barely earned $90 million worldwide in nearly three weeks according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. That’s not good for a film that looked like a bust before it even came out. Question is, why didn’t the producer’s see what the rest of us saw after watching that first trailer?
Moving on up list, we find another comedy starring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi. Now, at first glance, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” might look decent but look at the cast again. When has Jim Carrey ever starred in a comedy with another top-notch comedian? Never by my count after seeing him break onto the Hollywood scene with “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” nearly 20 years ago. And what does Carrey get for this latest act which will one day be a trivia question? Well, how about his worst box office opening ever for a comedy after this new film earned only $10.1 million according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. That’s a huge story and one that probably will not get its ‘due’ given the time of year we are in right now. Now, maybe this was never meant to be something big, but with a budget of $30 million, this is no independent film either. So, we’ll see what happens going forward, but I doubt it will be enjoying the returns like our second place film, “The Call,” is currently doing. Here’s a film that opened in 600 less locations than Steve Carell and Jim Carrey’s bomb and it earned over $7 million more according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. That’s a good $4 million over what it cost to make, officially placing this Halle Berry gem in the win column.
To read my review on the current box office leader “Oz,” click here
To see when and where these fab 5 are playing near you, click here