Oz's opening day is the strongest of the year so far, and is the fourth-highest ever for the month of March. Unfortunately, it is only about 59 percent of Alice in Wonderland's $40.8 million start in March 2010, which is slightly less than many were expecting. Alice opened on Oscar weekend, though, which meant the movie was very front-loaded on opening weekend. That won't be the case with Oz, which should draw big family audiences on Saturday and Sunday.
If Oz plays out like last March's John Carter, it will finish the weekend with over $74 million. With its PG rating and strong family appeal, though, it's likely to go much higher than that. For example, if it follows the pace of last year's The Lorax, it will wind up with around $95 million; instead, something between $80 and $85 million is a reasonable expectation.
In a very distant second place, Jack the Giant Slayer plummeted 67 percent to an estimated $2.52 million. In comparison, John Carter was down 60 percent at the same point last year. To date, Jack the Giant Slayer has earned $36.3 million, and it's now looking like the movie won't even be able to get to $60 million by the end of its run.
Dead Man Down opened in third place with an estimated $1.83 million from 2,188 locations. That's a tad better than last month's Sylvester Stallone bomb Bullet to the Head ($1.74 million), but worse than FilmDistrict action flops Parker ($2.15 million) and Lockout ($2.22 million). The movie will finish the weekend with around $5.5 million, making it the latest 2013 release to completely whiff at the box office.
At the start of its fifth weekend, Identity Thief eased 34 percent to an estimated $1.8 million. To date, the Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy has earned $112 million.
21 and Over rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $1.64 million, which is a drop of 51 percent from opening day last weekend. Through eight days, the college comedy has grossed a meager $13.4 million.
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• Forecast: 'Oz' To Cast a Spell Over Lifeless Box Office
• Grosses for Friday, March 8, 2013