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Jack, other weekend openers wilt


This article was published March 8, 2013 at 3:04 a.m.


Eleanor Tomlinson stars as Isabelle in Jack the Giant Slayer. The film came in first at last week’s box office and made just $27.2 million.

— Jack the Giant Slayer, Bryan Singer’s new version of Jack and the Beanstalk, didn’t get off the ground last weekend.

The nearly $200 million 3-D production opened with a disappointing $27.2 million, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros. It seems likely that the film will follow in the footsteps of another big-budget box-office dud - Walt Disney Studios’ $250 million John Carter, which launched with $30.2 million in March 2012 and ultimately collected just $73.1 million domestically.

It was a weak weekend at the box office overall, because three other films also had lackluster debuts. 21 & Over, an R-rated college-set comedy about a drunken 21st-birthday celebration, was expected to start with $15 million but instead collected an underwhelming $8.8 million. The low-budget horror sequel The Last Exorcism: Part II didn’t come close to the original’s $20.4 million opening, grossing just $7.7 million in its first weekend in theaters.

And the Cold War submarine thriller Phantom posted one of the worst debuts ever for a film in wide release, taking in a jaw-dropping $460,000 from 1,118 theaters.

Those who saw Jack the Giant Slayer last weekend didn’t hate it, assigning the film an average grade of B-plus, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

Jack the Giant Slayer features Warm Bodies star Nicholas Hoult as Jack, a young man trying to protect his kingdom from a legion of giants. The $190 million fantasy-adventure attracted a slightly more male audience - 55 percent male vs. 45 percent female - but the film was unable to pull in the young crowd the studio had been hoping to lure. In fact, 56 percent of the crowd was 25 and older.

The film 21 & Over is a disappointment for Relativity Media, which was hoping to replicate the success of the R-rated party flick Project X. That low-budget Warner Bros. movie, which opened on the same weekend last year, started with $21.5 million and ultimately made a respectable $54.7 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

The film, which follows three twenty somethings over the course of a wild night on a college campus, marked the directorial debut from The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. (The duo also wrote 21 & Over. ) Unlike that 2009 party movie, however, the pair’s latest effort won’t be a hit - at least Relativity and a consortium of Chinese companies spent only $13 million to produce it.

The few who did see the movie last weekend were young - 73 percent of the audience was younger than 25 and the crowd overall gave the film an average grade of B.

Meanwhile, inexpensive horror flicks have been struggling at the box office. Just two weeks after the scary Dark Skies opened with an unimpressive $8.2 million, The Last Exorcism, which centers on a young woman fighting against possession by a demonic force, also failed to find an audience.

As for Phantom, the Ed Harris-David Duchovny film will go down in history with the ill-fated kids film The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure. In August, that film posted the lowest opening ever for a picture playing in theaters nationwide - an embarrassing $443,901. Although it’s not official that the movie about a Soviet submarine on a possibly deadly mission will beat that record, the film is clearly sunk.

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 03/08/2013

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