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Disney's "Oz" keeps magic spell on movie box office

by
Actor James Franco poses for photographers at the European premier of Oz: The Great and Powerful in London February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Neil H
Actor James Franco poses for photographers at the European premier of Oz: The Great and Powerful in London February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Neil H

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's "Oz the Great and Powerful" worked more box office magic in its second weekend, following up its strong debut a week earlier with $42.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.

The "Wizard of Oz" prequel starring James Franco topped a stronger-than-expected performance from "The Call," a new thriller about a 911 operator played by Halle Berry who tries to save a kidnapped teenager. "The Call" earned $17.1 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," a new comedy featuring Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey as dueling Las Vegas magicians, finished the weekend in third place. It conjured up $10.3 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters - several million less than expected.

Domestic ticket sales for the big-budget, effects-filled "Oz" dropped 47 percent from its opening weekend, according to the box office division of Hollywood.com. Movies typically see a 40 percent to 60 percent decline in their second weekend of release.

"Oz" added $46.6 million over the weekend from international markets. Its global total after 10 days reached $282 million, a strong start for a movie that cost $200 million to make plus up to $100 million more to market.

"The Call" handily beat pre-weekend forecasts of a debut of around $10 million. The $15 million production overperformed on strong word-of-mouth, showing itself to be "a real crowd-pleaser," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Corp's Sony Pictures studio, which acquired the film from Troika Pictures.

"People like this film a lot, and it's going to be a big success for us," Bruer said, adding that "the film could end up doing anywhere from $40 million to $50 million, which would be huge."

"Burt Wonderstone," meanwhile, fell short of some pre-weekend forecasts, which had pegged the debut at $12 million to $15 million. The film had a modest budget of about $30 million, according to Warner Bros.

"Obviously we didn't want to come in number-three this weekend, but it's not for lack of trying," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of theatrical distribution.

The executive said the studio harbored hopes that upcoming school spring breaks would stoke the film's box office, adding that "with the budget being as reasonable as it was, I'm sure at the end of the day that we'll be okay."

Rounding out the top of the charts, the big-budget film "Jack the Giant Slayer" took fourth place with $6.2 million domestically. The global total for the March 1 release, which is trying to make back a $189 million production cost, reached nearly $90 million.

In fifth place, Melissa McCarthy comedy "Identity Thief" added $4.5 million to its impressive $123.7 million total.

"Jack the Giant Slayer" was released by Warner Bros. "Identity Thief" was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Will Dunham)

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