Box Office Preview: 'Oz' Looks to Defeat 'Incredible Burt Wonderstone,' 'The Call'

"Oz the Great and Powerful"
"Oz the Great and Powerful"
 Disney

Disney holdover Oz the Great and Powerful is expected to easily trounce new offerings The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and The Call at the box office this weekend.

A wild card at the specialty box office is Harmony Korine's R-rated comedy Spring Breakers, starring Oz lead James Franco opposite Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson.

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In terms of nationwide releases, the landscape looks particularly unfunny for New Line's star-studded comedy Burt Wonderstone, which reteams Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, who worked together on Bruce Almighty. The new film also stars Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini. Burt Wonderstone is expected to open in the $12 million to $15 million range, one of the lowest openings for a Carrey or a Carell comedy. Roughly the same estimate is being floated for Sony/TriStar's R-rated thriller The Call, starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin.

Oz, which opened to an impressive $79.1 million last weekend, could gross $35 million to north of $40 million in its second outing. With some college kids already out of school, the Wizard of Oz prequel has done impressive weekday business, with a domestic cume of $97.7 million through Wednesday. Oz is set to cross the $100 million mark in North America on Thursday, becoming only the second film of 2013 to do so after Identity Thief.

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If Burt Wonderstone indeed underperforms, it will mark the second New Line and Warner Bros. title to disappoint this month, after Jack the Giant Slayer. But with a production price tag of $32 million, Wonderstone is far less of a financial risk. Directed by Don Scardino, the comedy tells the story of Burt Wonderstone (Carell), a Las Vegas magician who reteams with a former partner (Buscemi) to take on up-and-coming street magician Steve Gray (Carrey).

Box-office observers believe The Call, which cost a modest $13 million to produce, could overperform if it does well among African-American moviegoers, a demo Sony targeted, in addition to women.

In the film, Berry plays a 911 operator who receives a call from a girl who has been abducted. The operator soon learns she must confront a killer (Michael Eklund) from her past. Brad Anderson directed the film, which was produced and financed by Troika Pictures and WWE Studios.

Spring Breakers opens Friday in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles after having its U.S. debut Sunday at SXSW. The comedy, financed and produced by Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, has garnered decent reviews. It is being distributed and marketed by A24 Pictures, which is backed by Guggenheim Partners, an investment group that also owns Dick Clark Productions and Guggenheim Digital Media, parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM

 

 

 

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