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'Giant Slayer' Scares Up Box Office Win

By Christy Lemire

LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't exactly a mighty victory, but Jack the Giant Slayer won the weekend at the box office.

The Warner Bros. 3-D action extravaganza, based on the Jack and the Beanstalk legend, made just $28 million to debut at No. 1, according to Sunday studio estimates. It had a reported budget of just under $200 million.

But the studio also hit a milestone on the global front with Peter Jackson's fantasy epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide. The first of three films based on the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel has made $301.1 domestically and $700 million internationally.

Jack the Giant Slayer comes from Bryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men movies. It stars Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane and Stanley Tucci.

Among other new releases, the college romp 21 & Over from Relativity Media made only $9 million this weekend to open in third place. And the horror sequel The Last Exorcism Part II from CBS Films debuted in fourth place with just over $8 million.

Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' executive vice president of theatrical distribution, said Jack the Giant Slayer opened lower than the studio had hoped, but he's encouraged by its CinemaScore, which was a B-plus overall and an A among viewers under 18. One bit of good news for Jack is that it had a 56% uptick from Friday to Saturday, suggesting strong word-of-mouth and more family audiences for the PG-13 adventure.

"That tells us that the audiences that are seeing it really do like it," Goldstein said. "The international opening in Asia has been very strong -- the 3-D component of the special effects works in a big way outside the domestic marketplace."

Jack the Giant Slayer made $13.7 million in 11 international territories for a worldwide total of $41.7 million. Internationally, A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth film in the blockbuster Bruce Willis franchise, was the big winner of the weekend with $18.3 million for a global total of nearly $222 million.

Domestically, this is the sixth weekend in a row that movie ticket sales are down, said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. He pointed out that many of the action pictures aimed at men this year -- including Snitch, 'The Last Stand, Bullet to the Head and Parker -- have been disappointments at the box office.

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