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Jack the Giant Slayer off to weak start at US box office

3D action adventure Jack the Giant Slayer was designed to be a blockbuster, but only managed a disappointing $28 million in its first weekend.

Jack the Giant Slayer, the latest classic fable turned big-budgeted 3D adventure, debuted to an underwhelming $28 million at the domestic box office, placing in the top spot nonetheless. The Jack and The Beanstalk reinterpretation reportedly cost about $200 million to produce and set the studio back another $100 million in marketing and promotions, so there will be a lot of pressure on foreign sales to recoup the substantial budget. This week, the Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor starrer played in 10 Asian markets and earned $13.7 million, ranking third internationally. Jack opens in the UK March 22.

The real scoop at the international box office this weekend was the news that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has become the 15th film ever to cross $1 billion in global earnings, bolstered by ticket sales in China, its last major market. On the weekly charts, The Hobbit ranked fifth internationally and earned $9.2 million.

Things were pretty grim back on the domestic front, where Jack was the only film to surpass $10 million. Hit comedy Identity Thief ranked second, earning $9.7 million in its fourth weekend, for a total of $107.4 million so far. New entry 21 & Over ranked third, taking in $9 million. The raunchy drunken comedy has garnered comparisons to Project X – that film being from the producer of The Hangover, this being from The Hangover’s writing team. However, 21 & Over made less than half of Project X’s $21.1 million opening haul. The film opens May 3 in the UK.

In fourth place, The Last Exorcism Part II debuted to only $8 million, less than half the takings of its predecessor The Last Exorcism, which opened to $20.4 million in 2010.

Holdovers took the next few spots, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s action thriller Snitch in fifth with $7.7 million, family film Escape From Planet Earth in sixth with $6.7 million, and Nicholas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven in seventh with $6.3 million.

Silver Linings Playbook, the only Oscar-nominated film still remaining in the US top 10, enjoyed a slight post-Oscars bump, earning $5.9 million for the weekend after lead actress Jennifer Lawrence won a statuette for her performance. Best Picture winner Argo was also up a bit, earning $2.2 million, though the thriller is already available on VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray. Life of Pi, whose director Ang Lee won the prize for Best Director, also got a boost and earned $2.3 million for the weekend.

In ninth place on the US charts, A Good Day to Die Hard placed ninth with $4.5 million in its third weekend, for a domestic gross total of $59.6 million so far. The franchise flick continued to do good business overseas, ranking first on the international charts with $18.3 million. Horror bomb Dark Skies rounded out the US top ten with only $3.6 million in its second weekend.

Filling in the international top five was Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ranking second with $15.2 million, trailed by Jack the Giant Slayer and Les Miserables, which made $10.5 million, for a global haul of $411.7 million so far.

Next weekend, US cinemas will see two high-profile releases with the hotly-anticipated Oz The Great and Powerful starring James Franco and Dead Man Down from the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev being released. In UK cinemas, Oz The Great and Powerful will also drop alongside comedy The Guilt Trip, action flick Parker, and Steven Soderbergh’s drama Side Effects.

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