Tom Cruise‘s sci-fi pic Oblivion opened to $38.2 million at the domestic box office to come in No. 1 after a better-than-expected performance and despite a B- CinemaScore. Overseas, the Universal pic continued to please, grossing $33.7 million in its second weekend for an international cume of $112 million and worldwide total of $150.2 million.
The movie marks Cruise’s best North American opening outside of the Mission: Impossible franchise and War of the Worlds, not accounting for inflation, as well as his return to sci-fi (previous titles include War of the Worlds and Minority Report). In more good news for Cruise, moviegoers listed the actor as the primary reason for turning out, followed by the type of movie and co-star Morgan Freeman.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), Oblivion also Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo. Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Barry Levine produced. The pic cost Universal and Elliot Inc. at least $120 million to produce.
Adult male moviegoers fueled Oblivion, making up 57 percent of the audience. IMAX theaters, a favorite venue of fanboys, generated $5.5 million in ticket sales from 323 theaters in North America. Overseas, the large-format exhibitor has sold north of $6 million in tickets.
Cruise’s track record domestically has been mixed. Jack Reacher debuted to $15.2 million in December on its way to earning a so-so $80 million in North America. Conversely, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, opening to $29.6 million in December 2011, turned into a box-office monster, grossing nearly $700 million worldwide.
“If you have the right vehicle [for Cruise], people will come. He is a global star,” said Universal president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco, crediting a strong original story and a well-run marketing campaign for the film’s successful opening, among other factors.
Set in 2077, 60 years after Earth has been destroyed by aliens, Oblivion follows one of the last humans stationed on the planet as he uncovers a troubling secret.
Universal decided to get a jump on the beginning of the crowded summer box office by opening Oblivion now. The studio has gone aggressively after males by advertising during major sporting events including the NCAA’s March Madness.
Among holdovers, Legendary and Warner Bros.’ Jackie Robinson biopic 42 continued to score strong numbers in its second weekend, declining a slim 34 percent to come in No. 2 with $18 million. The baseball drama’s 10-day domestic total is $54.1 million.
Fox and DreamWorks Animation’s animted pic The Croods raced passed the $400 million mark globally, grossing $9.5 domestically for a third-place finish and taking in $23.4 million internationally for a worldwide total of $429.4 million.
Scary Movie 5 placed No. 4 in its second weekend, dipping 56 percent to $6.3 million for a domestic total of $22.9 million.
Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation jumped the $300 million mark in its fourth weekend, thanks to a stellar $33 million opening in China. The sequel, coming in No. 5 in North America and No. 1 internationally with a $40 million weekend, has grossed $111.2 million domestically and $211.7 million internationally for a worldwide cume of $322.9 million. In China, the pic outpaced the first film by a four-to-one margin.
Expanding nationwide over the weekend, Derek Cianfrance‘s indie drama The Place Beyond the Pines, starring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling, placed No. 6 in North America. The film, from Focus Features and Sidney Kimmel, took in $4.7 million from more than 1,500 theaters for a cume of $11.4 million.
At the specialty box office, Francois Ozon‘s French film In the House grossed $35,214 from three theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $11,738. Cohen Media is distributing the film in the U.S.
Pantelion and Indomina’s Latino-themed drama Filly Brown debuted to $1.4 million from 188 locations for a location average of $7,250. Pantelion is a Lionsgate and Televisa joint venture.
Below are the top 10 estimates for the April 12-14 weekend at the domestic box office.
Title, weeks in release/theater count, studio, three-day weekend total, cume
1. Oblivion, 1/3,783, Universal, $38.2 million
2. 42, 2/3,250, Warners/Legendary, $18 million, $54.1 million
3. The Croods, 5/3,435, Fox/DreamWorks Animation, $9.5, $154.9 million
4. Scary Movie 5, 2/3,402, The Weinstein Co., $6.3 million, $22.9 million
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation, 4/3,175, Paramount, $5.8 million, $111.2 million
6. The Place Beyond the Pines, 4/1,542, Focus/Sidney Kimmel, $4.7 million, $11.4 million
7. Olympus Has Fallen, 5/2,638, FilmDistrict, $4.5 million, $88.1 million
8. Evil Dead, 3/2,823, Sony/TriStar/FilmDistrict, $4.1 million, $48.5 million
9. Jurassic Park, 3/2,330, Universal, $4 million, $38.5 million
10. Oz The Great and Powerful, 7/2,504, Disney, $3 million, $223.8 million