If there isn't a rule already about not releasing too many films against a major blockbuster in its second week, perhaps there needs to be.
Let's face it: it should surprise no one that Oz The Great and Powerful conquered again in its second outing, easily taking the top stop at the box office with $41.3 million. Oz eased about 48 percent from last weekend, which is fairly close to Disney's Alice in Wonderland's 46 percent decline in its second weekend in 2010. The comparison may not be fair, though, seeing that Wonderland was released when the 3D blockbuster was still in its infancy, while, three short years later, it's become almost standard. While the grosses may not equal to that of Wonderland, Oz is certainly looking at a final domestic tally north of $200 million.
Halle Berry's thriller The Call defied odds, stealing second place with $17.1 million. This is a better opening than Cloud Atlas ($9.6 million) and Berry's 2007 thriller Perfect Stranger ($11.2 million), as well as comparable title Cellular ($10.1 million), which proves that star power means everything. A last minute push from Sony through social marketing truly paid off for The Call, but calling the film a hit at this time may be premature. The film's third act is quite puzzling, and may detract many from spreading the word about the film, even though it serves as great counter-programming for Oz. If the film does hold up, it could lead to grosses around $45 million, which would make a fairly solid hit.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone proved to be less magical with audiences as hoped, grossing a pitiful $10.2 million over the weekend, which is good enough for third place. As great a comedy as it is, Wonderstone proves what happens when you try messing with a perfect formula. The goofy, arrogant titular protagonist is usually something Will Ferrell would do, while Steve Carell usually chooses the more deadpan, straight-man roles. Critics dismissed this film early on as a second-rate Blades of Glory, which certainly isn't a fair comparison by any means, but unfortunately, with Wonderstone's goofy costume-and-wig schtick, it was a stigma that was hard to shake.
Even worse, Warner Bros Pictures has yet to catch a break with their track record with releasing films against blockbusters in their second weekends. Speed Racer lost to Iron Man in 2008, while Dark Shadows was eclipsed by The Avengers last year. While Oz is certainly not in the same caliber as those films, it still stands to reason it's still a bad idea to try and go up against a blockbuster film, even in the second (or sometimes third) weekend.
Warner's Jack the Giant Slayer eased about 36 percent into fourth place with $6.3 million. While this is a decent drop in its third weekend, the dark fairy tale has only amassed a little more than $54 million domestically, causing many to still call it a bomb. But this may not be fair in the slightest. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters has accumulated only $54.7 million, and that film has been out since January -- and is getting a sequel, thanks to its worldwide grosses north of $200 million. Jack was a superior film to Hansel and Gretel, too, so worldwide grosses could still be the film's saving grace.
Rounding out the Top Five is Universal's hit Identity Thief, still making a splash about a month and a half after its release with $4.4 million. Identity Thief has managed an astounding $123.6 million, which is great for a film being released before March, and making it director Seth Gordon's most successful film since 2008's Four Christmases.
In limited release, we saw a vastly different James Franco in sexy crime thriller Spring Breakers, which grossed $263,002 in only three locations, earning a staggering $87,667 per-theater average, which is surprisingly higher than last year's impressive Zero Dark Thirty ($83,430 per theater) and even Lincoln ($85,846 per theater). The film is slated to open in over 1,000 theaters nationwide this upcoming Friday.
(The figures used in this article are taken from the actuals released from Box Office Mojo on Monday, March 18)