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Final numbers released Monday morning show Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer opening to $27.2 million in North America, falling short of Sunday’s already troubled estimate of $28 million.
It’s not unusual for official box-office tallies to vary from weekend estimates provided by Hollywood studios and independent film distributors on Sunday morning.
From New Line and Legendary Pictures, the revisionist take on the classic English story Jack and the Beanstalk needed a much bigger domestic opening considering its cost. All told, the price tag was nearly $300 million when accounting for the film’s $190 million production budget and hefty marketing spend. Jack already is drawing comparisons to last year’s Battleship and John Carter.
New Line and Warner Bros., its parent company, are banking on a strong international run to make up for Jack’s performance in North America, considering that 3D event pics often do far better overseas.
The movie made a decent showing in select Asian markets over the weekend, grossing $13.7 million from seven countries and led by South Korea with $4.9 million. Overall, it opened 46 percent ahead of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and matched Wrath of the Titans, both of which grossed north of $200 million overseas.
“This story is far from being told,” said Warner Bros. executive vp domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein. “We will get to a global number that works.”
John Carter, costing north of $250 million, debuted to $30 million in early March 2012. Several months later, Battleship, costing in the same ballpark as Jack, opened to $25.5 million on its way to grossing $65.4 million domestically and $237.6 million internationally for a meek total of $303 million. Disney and Universal suffered major financial losses.
Providing a glimmer of hope for New Line and Warners, Jack did succeed in luring families despite its PG-13 rating. The movie was up an impressive 57 percent from Friday to Saturday, a sure sign that kids and their parents turned out. (Jack’s release was pushed back from June to retool parts of the film and make it more kid-friendly, and the title was changed from Jack the Giant Killer.)
Movies that appeal to families often have sturdy legs. However, Jack faces a formidable foe in Disney’s family-friendly Oz the Great and Powerful, which opens next weekend and is rated PG.
Goldstein believes there is room in the domestic marketplace for both Jack and Oz. “Word-of-mouth on our film is really good, and we are going to have a nice hold.”
In North America, Jack drew a B+ CinemaScore overall, while those younger than 18 gave it an A. The pic skewed slightly male (55 percent). Moviegoers younger than 25 made up 27 percent of the audience.
In Singer’s rendering, the young farmhand Jack (Nicholas Hoult) accidentally opens a portal to a race of angry giants intent on destroying the kingdom and kidnapping Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson). Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor also star.
Domestic box-office revenue tumbled more than 35 percent from last year as Jack and three other new entries — Relativity Media’s R-rated comedy 21 & Over, CBS Films’ The Last Exorcism Part II and RCR Distribution’s Phantom — underwhelmed. On the weekend last year, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax debuted just north of $70 million, while Project X opened to $21 million.
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