WINNER OF THE WEEK: Tom Cruise. The grinning action hero was bound to win this week’s chart race anyway, since his Oblivion debuted without any new wide release rivals. Still, he can take pride in the sci-fi epic’s estimated $38.2 million, a figure at the upper end of pundits’ predictions. It’s also his second-best opening for a film outside the Mission: Impossible franchise (after the $64 million premiere of War of the Worlds in 2005) and the seventh-best April opening ever. Plus, the film had already opened a week ago overseas, earning $60.4 million last weekend. To date, it’s earned a total of $112.0 million abroad, for a worldwide total of $150.2 million. Plus, it’s still another two weeks before Iron Man 3 opens and (probably) swipes Oblivion’s audience, so there’s still time to make the most of the movie’s just so-so word-of-mouth (a B- from CinemaScore). Say what you will about the 50-year-old tabloid fixture – he still knows how to sell tickets.
Oblivion aside, no new competition was good news for this weekend’s chart holdovers. Last week’s champ, 42, lost a modest 34 percent of its opening-weekend business, slipping to second place on estimated earnings of $18.0 million. (It’s earned $54.1 million in ten days.) In third place, The Croods also lost little business (28 percent), taking in another estimated $9.5 million, for a five-week total of $154.9 million. Scary Movie 5 plunged 55 percent, to an estimated $6.3 million, but that was still good enough for fourth place and a two-weekend total of $22.9 million. G.I. Joe Retaliation was fifth, on estimated earnings of $5.8 million, for a four-week total of $111.2 million. And expanding into wide release this week (on 1,542 screens), the Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines climbed four rungs to sixth place, grabbing an estimated $4.7 million, for a four-week total of $11.4 million.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: The Zombies. That’d be rocker-turned-horror-auteur Rob and his wife Sheri Moon, star of Rob’s latest frightfest, The Lords of Salem. The movie opened on 354 screens this week, landing at Number 16 on the chart and scaring up an estimated $622,000. It’s a feat that would have looked a lot more impressive if this weekend hadn’t also seen the premiere, at Number 12, of Home Run, the Christian-themed baseball movie about an alcoholic major leaguer who finds redemption through faith. It opened on a similar number of screens (381) but scored more than twice the green (an estimated $1.6 million). Even with another inspirational baseball drama, 42, still strong in theaters with a per-screen average of $5,546, Home Run drummed up an average of $4,260 at each venue. Salem saw just $1,757 per screen. It’s the first Rob Zombie movie to open below $3 million. At this rate, the Zombies’ film will be lucky to earn back its minuscule $1.5 million budget.
IN THE ART-HOUSE: Hip-hop drama Filly Brown opened on just 188 screens, but it’s also a Home Run-sized hit, debuting at Number 13 and earning an estimated $1.4 million (that’s $7,250 per screen). The 2012 Sundance Festival favorite, which stars Gina Rodriguez and banda star Jenni Rivera (in the singer’s only movie role completed before her fatal plane crash in December), had strong appeal among Latino audiences. French import In the House, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, opened on just three screens but earned an estimated $35,200, or $11,733 per screen, the highest average of the weekend. (Oblivion earned $10,085 per screen.) Despite a cast that includes Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, and Nikki Reed, crime drama Pawn earned a disappointing $2,100 on its sole screen.