Warner Bros and New Line’s fantasy adventure Jack The Giant Slayer led an otherwise soft weekend that gained a mere 7% on the traditionally weak Oscar session seven days earlier.

Bryan Singer directed from a screenplay by his old collaborator Chris McQuarrie, among others. Jack The Giant Slayer stars the UK’s Nicholas Hoult alongside Eleanor Tomlinson and Ewan McGregor. The film grossed approximately $3.4m from IMAX screens.

The session was no match for the comparable weekend in 2012, when Universal opened Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax at number one on $70.2m and Warner Bros comedy Project X arrived in second place on $21.1m. Back then the top 12 films combined for $152.4m, approximately 38% higher than the comparable $94.4m aggregate of the current weekend.

Last weekend’s number one film Identity Thief slipped to number two and crossed $100m in its fourth weekend, while two other new arrivals failed to impress.

Relativity Media’s comedy 21 And Over arrived in third place on $9m, while the CBS Films pick-up The Last Exorcism Part II opened at number four on $8m. StudioCanal fully finance the horror sequel, handles international sales and will release in the UK, France and Germany. Predecessor The Last Exorcism debut through Lionsgate on $20.4m on Aug 27 2010 and finished on $41m.

Fox Searchlight released South Korean master Park Chan-wook’s English-language debut Stoker in seven venues and reported $158,000 for an excellent $22,686 per-site average. Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode star in the Hitchcock homage.

In a busy session for limited releases, Tribeca Film launched Oscar nominee War Witch in two venues for $10,300 and The Cinema Guild opened Leviathan on $10,000 in a single cinema.

Business is expected to pick up next weekend when Buena Vista unleashes Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful starring the ubiquitous James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. FilmDistrict releases Dead Man Down starring Coin Farrell and Noomi Rapace and directed by Niels Arden Oplev of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo fame.

Estimated Top 10 North America Mar 1-3 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Jack The Giant Slayer (Warner Bros) WBPI $28m –

2 (1) Identity Thief (Universal) UPI $9.7m $107.4m

3 (-) 21 And Over (Relativity) FilmNation $9m –

4 (-) The Last Exorcism Part II (CBS) StudioCanal $8m –

5 (2) Snitch (Summit Entertainment) Exclusive Media $7.7m $24.4m

6 (3) Escape From Planet Earth (TWC) TWC Int’l $6.7m $43.2m

7 (4) Safe Haven (Relativity) FilmNation $6.3m $57.1m

8 (7) Silver Linings Playbook (TWC) TWC Int’l $5.9m $115.5m

9 (5) A Good Day To Die Hard (Fox) Fox Int’l $4.5m $59.6m

10 (6) Dark Skies (Dimension) TWC International $3.6m $13.5m