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'Evil Dead' brings life to industry with $26 million debut

By Grady Smith, EW.com
April 8, 2013 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Jane Levy stars as Mia in
Jane Levy stars as Mia in "Evil Dead."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Evil Dead" and "Jurassic Park 3D" both opened successfully
  • Six separate films earned over $10 million during the Friday-to-Sunday period
  • "Evil Dead," a remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult classic, led the way with $24.2 mil

(EW.com) -- The 2013 box office has been stuck in a bit of a rut.

For nine of the past ten weekends, overall grosses have lagged behind 2012 totals, and high-profile releases like "Jack the Giant Slayer," "The Host," "Beautiful Creatures," and "A Good Day to Die Hard" have badly misfired. That's why industry folks are likely breathing a sigh of relief this morning looking at the box office chart.

Not only did "Evil Dead" and "Jurassic Park 3D" both open successfully, but six separate films earned over $10 million during the Friday-to-Sunday period. It's an encouraging sign of industry health as Hollywood gears up for the lucrative summer movie season.

"Evil Dead," a new remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult classic, led the way with $24.2 million. Sony is boasting a $26 million frame, which includes the $1.8 million the film earned at Thursday night shows. The horror film scared up more in its opening weekend than "Texas Chainsaw 3D," which debuted to $21.7 million in January, but less than "Mama," which took of with $28.4 million in February.

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Although "Evil Dead" is already a big winner for TriStar, FilmDistrict, and Ghost House Pictures, which made it for just $17 million, the film will have limited longevity in the weeks to come, as evidenced by its frontloaded performance thus far. "Evil Dead" dropped 15 percent from Friday ($10.1 million) to Saturday ($8.8 million), and a weak "C+" CinemaScore suggests the film isn't connecting with audiences outside its core horror-junkie demographic.

"Evil Dead" could return to the grave with about $50 million when all is said and done. The film's success must be gratifying for Sam Raimi, who directed the original and has his own picture in the Top 10 this week — "Oz The Great and Powerful" finished in seventh place with $8.2 million and has now earned $454.1 million worldwide.

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Fox's $135 million animated hit "The Croods" continued to benefit from being the only family release in theaters right now. The cave people comedy dropped 21 percent in its third weekend to $21.1 million, giving it a $125.8 million total and lots of time to continue evolving. The Croods will easily surpass the domestic totals of Fox's most recent animated efforts, "Ice Age: Continental Drift" ($161.3 million) and Rio ($143.6 million), and if it maintains its slim week-to-week drops, it should finish close to $200 million. Internationally, the film has already passed that mark with $206.8 million — $34.1 million of which came from this weekend.

High-octane sequel "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" tied "The Croods" for second place with $21.1 million — when studios report final numbers tomorrow, the exact rankings will be clarified. "Retaliation" fell 48 percent from its first weekend and has now commanded $86.7 million after 11 days. At the same point in its run, predecessor "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" had earned $101.2 million, and the sequel will almost certainly fall short of "Cobra's" $150.2 million domestic total. Fortunately, Retaliation, which comes from studios Paramount, MGM, and Skydance, is making up ground internationally, where it has earned $145.2 million after only two weekends ("Cobra's" overseas total was $152.3 million), giving it $231.8 million globally.

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For star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who assumed the lead role in the "G.I. Joe" franchise, "Retaliation" is kicking off what's sure to be an impressive few months of his box office career. On April 26, his Mark Wahlberg action-collab "Pain and Gain" hits theaters, and on May 24, surefire smash Fast & Furious 6 will race to profitability. Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? Hits! (Ok, with the exception of Snitch, which only earned $41.8 million earlier this year.)

Universal's re-release "Jurassic Park 3D," the latest entry in the 3-D re-release fad kickstarted by "The Lion King" 3D's $94.1 million haul in 2011, stomped away with $18.2 million in its first weekend. IMAX screens accounted for $6 million of that figure. The dinosaur film (read a wonderful oral history of it HERE) had better start than Titanic 3D, which debuted to $17.3 million, but behind Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace 3D, which opened with $22.4 million. All told, the Steven Spielberg classic might score about $50 -- 60 million, a tremendous result considering it only cost Universal $10 million to convert to 3D.

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The presidential thriller "Olympus Has Fallen" snuck past Tyler Perry's "Temptation" to take fifth place, though both films earned about $10 million for the weekend. Olympus dipped only 29 percent in its third weekend, giving it a $71.1 million total against a $70 million budget. The White House action flick has proven to be a nice performer for star Gerard Butler, who was coming off a string of flops, as well as distributor FilmDistrict. Olympus has surpassed Insidious ($54 million total) as the young studio's biggest hit. Lionsgate's Temptation, meanwhile, stumbled 54 percent to $10 million, giving it a nice ten-day total of $38.3 million versus a $20 million budget.

1. Evil Dead -- $24.2 million

2. The Croods -- $21.1 million

2. G.I. Joe: Retaliation -- $21 million

4. Jurassic Park-- $18.2 million

5. Olympus Has Fallen -- $10 million

6. Tyler Perry's Temptation -- $10 million

In limited release, the Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling drama "The Place Beyond the Pines" continued to excel. This weekend, the film expanded from four to 30 theaters, where it earned $695,000, giving it another scorching location average of $23,167. Focus Features plans to keep rolling out the $15 million film in the weeks to come.

Danny Boyle's "Trance" also opened in four theaters this weekend, and earned encouraging results. The film, which stars Rosario Dawson, earned $136,000 — yielding a per theater average of $36,000. Fox Searchlight plans to expand the film into 375-400 locations next weekend.

See the original article at EW.com.

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