The Great and Powerful Oz

Disney Enterprises

As expected, Oz the Great and Powerful worked its magic on a slumping box office, grossing an estimated $80.3 million in its Friday-Sunday debut, its studio reported.

The opening-weekend number is easily the biggest of the year, and the third-largest ever for a March release, behind only The Hunger Games and Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland.

The massively expensive Wizard of Oz prequel, starring James Franco, was graded a B-plus by audiences polled by CinemaScore.

Overseas, Oz picked up just shy of $70 million, and brought its three-day, worldwide total to $150.2 million.

The start puts the 3-D-powered fantasy well on the road toward exceeding its reputed $215 million budget; it gets it about half-way toward the eye-popping $325 million number that reportedly represented its combined production and marketing costs.

For Hollywood, Oz is a welcome change of pace.

"An event film like this can act as a catalyst," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Disney, which released Oz.

Heading into Friday, the box office was running 15 percent behind last year's.

With Oz drawing well among both couples and families, ticket sales were up about 40 percent from last weekend, and about 8 percent from the same three-day period in 2012, according to Exhibitor Relations stats.

Oz didn't meet the most-outsized projections that had it heading into $100 million, Alice in Wonderland territory, but Hollis said the movie exceeded the studio's own pre-release tracking surveys, which are more conservative by nature, and had Oz pegged for a $70-$75 million opening weekend.

Among the top films, Oz accounted for nearly two of every three tickets sold.

That was bad news, or rather, more bad news, for Jack the Giant Slayer, another film made for in the neighborhood of $200 million. Business was down 63 percent from its disappointing opening weekend. The film's domestic total now stands at just $43.8 million.

The Colin Farrell thriller Dead Man Down, the only other new movie in wide release, aside from Oz, debuted in fourth place with a weak $5.4 million.

Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday studio estimates and stats as compiled by Exhibitor Relations.

  1. Oz the Great and Powerful, $80.3 million
  2. Jack the Giant Slayer, $10 million
  3. Identity Thief, $6.3 million
  4. Dead Man Down, $5.4 million
  5. Snitch, $5.1 million
  6. 21 and Over, $5.06 million
  7. Safe Haven, $3.8 million
  8. Silver Linings Playbook, $3.7 million
  9. Escape From Planet Earth, $3.2 million
  10. The Last Exorcism Part II, $3.1 million
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