“Jack the Giant Slayer” was the #1 movie in theaters over the weekend, but with a production budget of nearly $200 million, its $28 million debut was a massive disappointment.
Warner Bros. opened the effects-heavy movie in more than 3,500 locations. Even Disney’s similarly big-budgeted “John Carter” did slightly better around the same time last year.
Undoubtedly the studio is banking on international receipts and strong word-of-mouth (critics have embraced the film) to keep “Jack” from being remembered as 2013′s first big-budget failure. The live-action fairy tale stars Nicholas Hoult as the title character. The former child actor helped carry “Warm Bodies” to a #1 debut earlier this year.
Neither of the weekend’s other new widely released films performed very well. “21 and Over,” the directorial debut from a couple of writers from “The Hangover,” was a bust with just $9 million. Somewhat similarly themed found-footage party film “Project X” opened with $11 million around the same time last year. “The Last Exorcism Part II” was right behind it with slightly more than $8 million; the original debuted with more than double that three years ago.
Last weekend’s #1 movie continued to do great business. “Identity Thief” was #2 with $9.7 million. Since it debuted four weekends ago, the first movie to put “Bridesmaids” alum Melissa McCarthy in a lead role has made $107.4 million, making it the first movie of 2013 to cross the $100 million mark. “Identity Thief” also stars Jason Bateman. The film’s director also made “Four Christmases,” which the directors of “21 and Over” worked on as writers.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Snitch” rounded out the top five with $7.7 million for a 10-day haul of $24.4 million.
The Academy Awards provided a nice boost for several lingering pictures, including Best Picture winner “Argo,” despite the fact that the Ben Affleck-directed drama is widely available on DVD, iTunes and other aftermarket outlets. “Argo” jumped 21 percent at the box-office after its big win; the hostage drama has made more than $138 million. “Life of Pi” jumped 43 percent; “Silver Linings Playbook” went up 3 percent. Both are over $100 million, as well.
While it didn’t rack up the truckload of Oscar nominations and wins of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (it was nominated for production design, makeup and visual effects), “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” did manage an impressive feat over the weekend, officially crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Jack the Giant Slayer.”