Oz the Great and Powerful clearly cast a spell over cinema-goers this weekend.
The Disney 3D prequel to L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz debuted in first place at the American box office earning $80.3 million across the US and Canada and additional $69.9 million worldwide, according to studio estimates.
Oz tells the origin of James Franco as the wizard with Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz as the trio of witches he encounters after crashing in the mystical realm of Oz.
The updated take on Oz, which was directed by original Spider-Man trilogy mastermind Sam Raimi, was a gamble that looks like it will pay off for the Walt Disney Co. The film reportedly cost $200 million and opened a week after "Jack the Giant Slayer," another big-budget 3-D extravaganza that reimagines a classic tale, flopped in its opening weekend, debuting with $28 million at the box office.
Oz was also golden overseas. The film conjured up $69.9 million from 46 foreign markets, including Russia and here in the UK. Oz could follow in the footsteps of Disney's Alice in Wonderland, another costly 3D film, which opened on the same weekend in 2010 and went on to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
"Oz is the shot in the arm that the industry needed," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "We had six consecutive weekends where the box office was down. As a result, we're at a 12-and-a-half percent deficit year-to-date on box office revenues versus last year. Not a lot of movies have worked. There have been several underperformers."
In its second weekend, Jack stomped out second place behind Oz with $10 million, dropping 62 percent since its opening weekend. It earned just $4.9 million overseas. Jack, based on the Jack and the Beanstalk fable, was directed by Bryan Singer and stars Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor.
The only other new release this weekend, the FilmDistrict revenge drama Dead Man Down starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, opened in fourth place with $5.3 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian cinemas, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are included.
1. "Oz the Great and Powerful," $80.3 million. ($69.9 million international.)
2. "Jack the Giant Slayer," $10 million. ($4.9 million international.)
3. "Identity Thief," $6.3 million.
4. "Dead Man Down," $5.3 million.
5. "Snitch," $5.1 million. ($4.7 million international.)
6. "21 & Over," $5 million.
7. "Safe Haven," $3.8 million.
8. "Silver Linings Playbook," $3.7 million. ($6 million international.)
9. "Escape from Planet Earth," $3.2 million.
10. "The Last Exorcism Part II," $3.1 million.
Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. "Oz the Great and Powerful," $69.9 million.
2. "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," $11.2 million.
3. "A Good Day to Die Hard," $9.1 million.
4. "Mama," $6.3 million.
5 (tie). "Beautiful Creatures," $5.8 million.
5 (tie). "Les Miserables," $5.8 million.
6. "Silver Linings Playbook," $6 million.
7. "Jack the Giant Slayer," $4.9 million.
8. "New World," $4.8 million.
9. "Snitch," $4.7 million.
10. "Boule et Bill," $4.1 million.