Disney's 3-D prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum tale "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" debuted in first place and earned $80.3 million at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.
"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 landing in the mystical realm of Oz.
The updated take on "Oz," which was directed by original "Spider-Man" trilogy mastermind Sami Raimi, was a gamble that looks like it will pay off for Disney. 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' 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. "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 U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday:
1. "Oz the Great and Powerful," $80.3 million.
2. "Jack the Giant Slayer," $10 million.
3. "Identity Thief," $6.3 million.
4. "Dead Man Down," $5.3 million.
5. "Snitch," $5.1 million.
6. "21 & Over," $5 million.
7. "Safe Haven," $3.8 million.
8. "Silver Linings Playbook," $3.7 million.
9. "Escape from Planet Earth," $3.2 million.
10. "The Last Exorcism Part II," $3.1 million.