Jack the Giant Slayer climbs to the top of the US box office

Jack the Giant Slayer movie poster
Jack the Giant Slayer has been one of those overbudgeted, troubled productions that lumbered into release.  The studio delayed the original 2012 release (never a good sign), rumors had the budget escalating well over $200 million, and the lack of a major star above the title had everyone involved worried.  It turns out they were right.  The fairy tale adventure brought in $27 million dollars in its opening weekend.  Jack has become this year’s John Carter.  A big, overpriced spectacle that will struggle to get to $70 million in North America.   Nicholas Hoult may be this year’s Taylor Kitsch.
Identity Thief continues to be an unstoppable, bulldozer sized comedy that shows no signs of slowing down.  A month since it’s release, the film remains in the number two slot with $10 million in ticket sales.  Melissa McCarthy has quickly become a hot commodity and her price tag is escalating with every subsequent week.  Identity Thief has been the only real success story of 2013.  
The R-Rated teen comedy 21 and Over placed third with $9 million.  The film is no doubt trying to cash in on the same audience that propelled Project X to a nice return last year, but it seems like this one didn’t quite have the same hook.  
The week’s most ironically named film, The Last Exorcism Part II, debuted in fourth place.  It seems like there’s an exorcism themed movie coming out every year.  Fortunately it seems audiences are tiring of them.  If only people would stop turning out for Paranormal Activity films, the horror genre might be able crawl out of this found footage/possession hellhole it’s currently residing. Oops. Sorry, I was standing on a soapbox.
Snitch, starring Dwayne Johnson, is in fifth place with $7 million.  The artist formerly known as “The Rock” has had a rough go in these old school action films.   The kind of movies that would have starred Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the day.  The guy is still a draw in more family friendly fare, but it seems like the traditional old-school action movie may be dead.
2013 has basically been one long funeral service for action films.  Arnold couldn’t get anyone to care about The Last Stand.  Stallone couldn’t put asses in seats for Bullet to the Head.  And I don’t know if you noticed, but in its third week A Good Day to Die Hard has almost fallen out of the top ten.  You can blame those failures on any number of factors, but a lot of the blame gets placed on the aged action stars involved.  Snitch and Parker have shown us that aged actors aren’t the only action films being largely ignored by film fans.  Johnson and Jason Statham aren’t getting tickets sold either.  Parker was more of a crime thriller than an action film, but you wouldn’t have known that from the marketing.  Ironically, action films are taking a beating this year.
Next week sees only one major new release, but it’s a doozy.  Sam Raimi is back with the epic Oz the Great and Powerful.  This might be the box office jump start this year needs.  See you next week.

Here’s your top films for North America:

1. Jack the Giant Slayer
Weekend Estimate: $27 million

2. Identity Thief
Weekend Estimate: $10 million; $107 million total

3. 21 and Over
Weekend Estimate: $9 million

4. The Last Exorcism Part II
Weekend Estimate: $8 million

5. Snitch
Weekend Estimate: $7 million; $24 million total

Anghus Houvouras