LOS ANGELES – It wasn’t exactly a mighty victory, but “Jack the Giant Slayer” won the weekend at the box office.
The Warner Bros. 3-D action extravaganza, based on the Jack and the Beanstalk legend, made just $28 million to debut at No. 1, according to Sunday studio estimates. It had a reported budget of just under $200 million.
But the studio also hit a milestone on the global front with Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide. The first of three films based on the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel has made $301.1 domestically and $700 million internationally.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” comes from Bryan Singer, director of “The Usual Suspects” and the first two “X-Men” movies. It stars Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane and Stanley Tucci.
Among other new releases, the college romp “21 & Over” from Relativity Media made only $9 million this weekend to open in third place. And the horror sequel “The Last Exorcism Part II” from CBS Films debuted in fourth place with just over $8 million.
Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president of theatrical distribution, said “Jack the Giant Slayer” opened lower than the studio had hoped, but he’s encouraged by its CinemaScore, which was a B-plus overall and an A among viewers under 18. One bit of good news for “Jack” is that it had a 56 percent uptick from Friday to Saturday, suggesting strong word-of-mouth and more family audiences for the PG-13 adventure.
“The audiences that are seeing it really do like it,” Goldstein said.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” made $13.7 million in 11 international territories for a worldwide total of $41.7 million. Internationally, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the fifth film in the blockbuster Bruce Willis franchise, was the big winner of the weekend with $18.3 million for a global total of nearly $222 million.
Domestically, this is the sixth weekend in a row that movie ticket sales are down, said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. He pointed out that many of the action pictures aimed at men this year — including “Snitch,” “The Last Stand,” “Bullet to the Head” and “Parker” — have been disappointments at the box office.
“Other films have done OK, but we need to do better than OK to keep up with last year’s pace,” he said. “Where is the audience? I don’t want to overstate this, but where are the guys?”
Among the few bright spots, Universal’s Jason Bateman-Melissa McCarthy comedy “Identity Thief” has become the first film to cross the $100 million mark this year. Now in its fourth week in theaters, it’s made $107.4 million.
Bobby Rogers, Motown legend, dies
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Bobby Rogers, a founding member of Motown group The Miracles and a songwriting collaborator with Smokey Robinson, died Sunday at his home in suburban Detroit.
Motown Museum board member Allen Rawls said Rogers, 73, died about 6 a.m. He had been ill for several years.
The group’s hits included “Shop Around,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “I Second That Emotion” and “The Tears of a Clown.”
Rogers’ cousin Claudette Rogers told the Detroit Free Press that everyone was drawn to his personality: “He loved talking to the women, loved talking to the guys, loved to dance, loved to sing, loved to perform. That was the joy of his life.”
Fans keep love alive for ‘Dead’ star
LOS ANGELES – From week to week, fans simply never know which characters will survive the relentless zombie attacks on AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead.”
That unpredictability keeps viewers on the edge of their seats and the shows’ stars in a constant state of alertness.
“You see series and they last a long time and sometimes the writing gets lazy or the acting gets lazy. Because we’re in a zombie apocalypse and anyone can go at any time, it sort of keeps us fresh and on our toes,” Norman Reedus said Friday.
Fans lined up around the block to watch a panel discussion with Reedus and his co-stars at Paleyfest, the annual Southern California TV celebration. Many in the crowd showed their support for Reedus’ crossbow-wielding character, Daryl Dixon, with their “If Daryl dies we riot!” T-shirts.
The 44-year-old actor says his vocal fan base is responsible for his character’s impressive longevity in a series that seems to have no qualms in axing its most popular characters.
“Hell, yes. Oh my God, yes,” he said. “(They’re) keeping me on the show.”
— From news service reports