Sam Raimi's 3D fantasy-adventure Oz the Great and Powerful hit $80.3 million in its North American debut and $69.9 million overseas for a global opening of $150.2 million.
Disney and producer Joe Roth hope to launch a new franchise with Oz, which scored the top debut of 2013, as well as the third-best March opening of all time after last year's The Hunger Games ($152.5 million) and fellow Disney fantasy-adventure Alice in Wonderland, which debuted to $116.1 million in early March 2010.
The Wizard of Oz origins pic tells the story of how a fast-talking Kansas circus worker (James Franco) became the Wizard of Oz. The three witches central to the story are played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams.
Disney has spent north of $300 million on Oz, between the $215 million production budget and a hefty worldwide marketing campaign. It is opening in the same corridor as Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp. Alice received an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers, versus a B+ for Oz.
As expected, Oz is making life impossible for Bryan Singer's 3D fantasy-adventure Jack and the Giant Slayer, which fell 63 percent in its second weekend to $10 million for a domestic total of $43.8 million. The tentpole, from New Line and Legendary Pictures, came in No. 2 domestically.
The weekend's other new wide release, romantic thriller Dead Man Down, fell flat in its opening, coming in No. 4 with roughly $5.5 million. Marking the English-language debut of Niels Arden Oplev, Dead Man Down reteams the filmmaker with his The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace.
Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper also star in the movie, which is being distributed domestically by FilmDistrict. IM Global, Original Films and Frequency Films are partners on the film.
- Arts & Entertainment