Hits & Misses

HITS AND MISSES 8-10 MARCH: OZ EMERGES GREAT AND POWERFUL DESPITE BEING ALL BUT INVISIBLE

oz1Positioned in the States as the first major smash of the year, Disney’s OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL took a blockbusting $80M this weekend, comparing favourably to the $30M hammering the studio took last year with flop JOHN CARTER in the same frame. Despite a remarkably subdued marketing effort from UK Disney – perhaps wary of spending heavily in light of JOHN CARTER’s failure here (the film opened to £1.9M ) – OZ nevertheless took a decent enough £3.7M UK total this weekend and top spot – although this was obviously nowhere near in proportion with the US success. Speculation must be rife over at the Mouse House as to whether the film could have reached a higher figure with more of a push. Who can say?

At second place, Steven Sodebergh’s purported final film SIDE EFFECTS took £898K to average a decent £2.5K – although this figure is considerably down on the helmer’s similarly starry CONTAGION which launched to £1.9M back in March 2011. At third meanwhile, Disney’s fifth week reliable WRECK IT RALPH took an additional £741K to take the film to £21.4M to date. Will the Wonderful Wizard reach these dizzy heights? It seems doubtful.

At fourth position, Jason Statham actioner PARKER took £568K to average a distinctly un-muscular £1.9K; at fifth, horror MAMA took a further £525K to make £4.5M to date; while at sixth, front-loaded actioner HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS dropped to £507K to make £2.65M after two weekends of play. At seventh place, second week romancer SAFE HAVEN took £407K and £1.7M to date; at eighth, new opener THE GUILT TRIP took a disappointing £398K and low £1.3K average; at ninth, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD shrivelled like an ageing action star’s libido to £337K and £10.3M to date; and finally at tenth, LES MISERABLES took another £293K in its ninth week to edge the film closer to the £40M mark with £39.6M.

Of the remaining new starts, a big disappointment proved to be acclaimed UK indie BROKEN which launched to a lacklustre £53K and £1.5K average from a targeted 35-site release. Also launching was sci-fi grey pounder ROBOT AND FRANK, with £98K and a low £1.3K average, as well as panned US DTV fare FIRE WITH FIRE, which took just £19K and an abysmal £192 average, and a Vue-exclusive for a reissue of THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987), taking just £11K and a £152 average from a one off show series.

Over in the states, trailing behind OZ at the top of the food chain were JACK THE GIANT SLAYER which took just $10M in weekend 2 to make $43M to date for the flop, and at third, smash hit comedy IDENTITY THIEF, taking a further $6M to put the film at $116M after five weeks of play. On the Indie circuit meanwhile, strong limited openings for Michel Ghondry’s THE WE AND THE I (one screen in NY took $12.3K) and Christian Munghiu’s BEYOND THE HILLS (three screens took an $18K total), promised expansion for the specialist pair in the coming weeks.

A scrumptious weekend ahead for UK cinemagoers sees big Friday launches for tawdry Southern saga THE PAPERBOY, high-octane Brit crime flick WELCOME TO THE PUNCH and zany comedy BURT WONDERSTONE, while on a smaller scale bad taste opus MANIAC, acclaimed Romanian Art Houser BEYOND THE HILLS, agit-doc THE SPIRIT OF ’45 and exquisite Scottish mood piece SHELL all vie for the dedicated cinephile’s attention.  An absolute corker.

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