Evil Dead remake and the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park 3D. Add in good performances from holdovers, and this was one of the stronger weekends of 2013 so far: the Top 12 earned an estimated $127.5 million, which is up nine percent from the same frame last year.
Playing at 3,025 locations, Evil Dead took first place with an estimated $26 million. That ranks 10th all-time among horror remakes, and falls right in between Halloween ($26.4 million) and The Amityville Horror ($23.5 million). While it's not the top horror opening of the year—that title still belongs to Mama ($28.4 million)—it is at least noticeably above January remake/reboot Texas Chainsaw 3D ($21.7 million).
This good opening is a tribute to strong execution all around from TriStar (a division of Sony) and FilmDistrict. In making the movie itself, they kept fans of the original in mind: Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were producers, and the movie was made completely with practical effects (unlike, say, 2011's The Thing remake). Aside from communicating that information to fans, they also did specific outreach by holding well-received South by Southwest screenings. Finally, they reached general horror audiences with a scary, intense advertising campaign that included the bold tagline "The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience."
The audience was 56 percent male and 56 percent were 25 years of age and older. They gave the Evil Dead remake a middling "C+" CinemaScore: while that's generally in line with the horror genre, it doesn't portend well for the movie's long-term prospects. At this point, it's likely that Evil Dead winds up with around $50 million, though probably not much higher.
According to studio estimates, The Croods and G.I. Joe: Retaliation tied for second place with an estimated $21.1 million this weekend.
G.I. Joe was off 48 percent from opening weekend, which is actually a respectable hold: in comparison, Clash of the Titans fell 57 percent coming off its Easter weekend debut in 2010. Through 11 days, the G.I. Joe sequel has earned $86.7 million, which lags behind the first movie's pace by around $15 million.
Meanwhile, The Croods eased a very light 21 percent. That's a fantastic hold, though it is a little steeper than How to Train Your Dragon's 14 percent dip on the same weekend in its run. With $125.8 million in the bank so far and no competition until May, The Croods definitely appears to have a chance at closing with over $200 million.
In fourth place, Jurassic Park 3D opened to an estimated $18.2 million from 2,771 locations. Among live-action 3D re-releases, that's between Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ($22.5 million) and Titanic 3D ($15.5 million three-day start, $17.3 million opening weekend).
This solid start can be attributed to the ongoing popularity of Jurassic Park, which became one of the highest-grossing movies ever when it played in theaters in 1993 and went on to spawn two successful sequels (and a third that's on the way for next Summer). Universal also made the shrewd decision to tie the re-release in with the 20th anniversary of the movie's release, which made it seem more like a celebration and less like a cash-grab.
IMAX showings accounted for over $6 million—or around 32 percent—of the $18.2 million debut. That's the highest IMAX share ever for a nationwide release, and is a huge win for the large-format exhibitor.
Jurassic Park 3D's audience was 55 percent male and 54 percent were 25 years of age or older. There wasn't a CinemaScore reported, but anecdotally it appears the 3D is being well-received for the most part.
Rounding out the Top Five, Olympus Has Fallen added $10.04 million, which is off a very light 29 percent from last weekend. That's a bit of a surprise, given the movie's steep 53 percent second weekend drop: it now appears that rough fall can be attributed exclusively to tough competition from G.I. Joe, and that in fact Olympus is receiving good word-of-mouth. To date, the White House takeover thriller has grossed $71.1 million, and now looks on course for close to $90 million by the end of its run.
Tyler Perry's Tepmtation fell 54 percent to an estimated $10 million. While that looks like a poor decline, it's actually the best hold for a Tyler Perry movie since 2007's Why Did I Get Married? Through 10 days, Temptation has earned $38.4 million.
After its disappointing debut last weekend, The Host fell 51 percent to an estimated $5.2 million. While the movie has overall performed very poorly so far, its $19.7 million 10-day total is at least more than February's Beautiful Creatures earned in its entire run ($19.4 million).
The Place Beyond the Pines expanded to 30 locations and took 13th place with $695,000. That translates to a fantastic $23,167 per-theater average. Focus Features is going to aggressively expand the movie from here: it's going in to around 450 theaters next weekend, and will likely get a nationwide berth on April 19th.
Meanwhile, Danny Boyle's Trance opened to an estimated $136,000 at four locations in New York and Los Angeles. That's a per-theater average of $34,000, or about half of what Pines did last weekend. Fox Searchlight is expanding the psychological thriller in to over 375 theaters next weekend.