WINNERS OF THE WEEK: James Franco and Halle Berry. Franco's Oz the Great and Powerful remained the top movie for the second straight week. Even though it lost 47 percent of last week's business, it still earned an estimated $42.2 million, far and away enough for first place and a ten-day total of $145.0 million. Plus, Franco's new indie movie, Spring Breakers, opened on three screens with $270,000 – that's an unbelievable $90,000 per screen. (Oz, by contrast, earned $10,793 per screen this weekend, though that's an awfully good average take, too.)
As for Berry, her thriller The Call debuted in second place with a healthy estimated $17.1 million (that's $6,821 per screen), earning a solid upset victory over fellow newcomer The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. (That movie debuted in third place, with an estimated $10.3 million, or $3,261 per screen.) That's about the opposite of what was expected; pundits had predicted Burt Wonderstone would finish in the upper teens and that The Call would finish at 10 million or below. Berry hasn't had a hit in a long while, but critics, who had low expectations, found the film better than they'd hoped, and moviegoer word-of-mouth was decent, drawing an audience that was predominantly female and over 30.
LOSERS OF THE WEEK: Steve Carell and Jim Carrey. By contrast, critics and moviegoers had high hopes for these two veteran comics, whose previous collaborations included the hits Bruce Almighty and Horton Hears a Who. But aside from those films, Carrey has been as hitless as Berry in recent years. And both critics and audiences found that Burt Wonderstone, the comedy about rival Vegas magicians, delivered less than it promised.
Meanwhile, Jack the Giant Slayer, a fantasy also-ran to Oz even before Oz opened, fell to fourth place, earning another estimated $6.2 million, for a three-weekend total of $53.9 million. In fifth was the comedy Identity Thief, earning an estimated $4.5 million. It's earned $123.7 million in six weeks, though Oz has already overtaken it as 2013's top-grossing movie so far.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Of course, Franco doesn't deserve all the credit for Spring Breakers' success. Give credit also to auteur Harmony Korine, who's been treading the line between art-film and deliberately outrageous teensploitation ever since 1995's Kids. And more pruriently, to former Disney tween stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, playing sleazily against type as coeds gone wild.
Also burning up the indie chart were the debuts of From Up On Poppy Hill and Ginger & Rosa. Both are nostalgic teen dramas set in the early 1960s. Poppy Hill, the latest from the great Japanimation house Studio Ghibli, opened on two screens with an estimated $55,000, or a generous $27,500 per screen. Ginger & Rosa, starring 14-year-old Elle Fanning (Super 8) and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures), earned an estimated $45,000, or $15,000 per screen. Those are terrific averages, suggesting that these three teen pics will become indie-sized hits when they expand to theaters nationwide.