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Oz tops US on estimated $80m

The third highest March opening in North American box office history ensured a comfortable number one debut for Buena Vista’s Oz The Great And Powerful on approximately $80.3m.

The result combined with the $69.9m international launch for a $150.2m worldwide opening haul that marked the arrival of the year’s first blockbuster.

Weekend business for the top 12 climbed 39.8% against the last session and gained approximately 7% on the same period last year, when The Lorax held on to the top berth in its second weekend and the much maligned John Carter launched in second place.

Sam Raimi directed Oz The Great And Powerful, an adventure fantasy prelude of sorts to the Wizard Of Oz myth. The ubiquitous James Franco stars alongside Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. The film generated $8.2m from 307 IMAX screens for the second biggest IMAX 3D haul in March.

2012’s The Hunger Games remains the all-time biggest March opener on $152.5m followed by Alice In Wonderland in on $116.1m in 2020.

Dead Man Down, a crime thriller starring Colin Farrell and directed by Niels Arden Oplev of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo fame, debuted in fourth place on a lacklustre $5.4m from 2,188 theatres. The nature of the project plus the casting of Farrell and Noomi Rapace promise lucrative opportunities both in the North American ancillary realm and internationally through IM Global.

Snitch in fifth place has reached a solid $31.9m through Lionsgate/Summit after three weekends, while Safe Haven at number seven has grossed $62.9m after four weekends through Relativity.

StudioCanal’s The Last Exorcism Part II, distributed in the US through CBS Films, ranks number 10 on $12.1m after two weekends.

Roadside Attractions launched the Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones historical drama Emperor at number 15 on a little over $1m from 260 sites. Sierra/Affinity handles international sales.

Next weekend’s wide releases include Warner Bros’ The Incredible Burt Wonderstone starring Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey; and thriller The Call starring Halle Berry through TriStar.

Estimated Top 10 North America Mar 8-10 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Oz The Great And Powerful (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $80.3m –

2 (1) Jack The Giant Slayer (Warner Bros) WBPI $10m $43.8m

3 (2) Identity Thief (Universal) UPI $6.3m $116.5m

4 (-) Dead Man Down (FilmDistrict) IM Global $5.4m –

5 (4) Snitch (Lionsgate/Summit) Exclusive Media $5.1m $31.9m

6 (3) 21 And Over (Relativity) FilmNation $5.06m $16.8m

7 (7) Safe Haven (Relativity) FilmNation $3.8m $62.9m

8 (8) Silver Linings Playbook (TWC) TWC Int’l $3.7m $120.7m

9 (6) Escape From Planet Earth (TWC) TWC Int’l $3.2m $47.8m

10 (5) The Last Exorcism Part II (CBS Films) StudioCanal $3.1m $12.1m

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