By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud
April 7 "Evil Dead," the blood-drenched remake
of the 1981 horror classic, "The Evil Dead," scared up $26
million in its first weekend to win the box office race,
slashing past another familiar story, the 3D re-release of
Steven Spielberg's 1993 dinosaur blockbuster, "Jurassic Park."
The supernatural story of five twenty-something friends who
battle demons in a remote cabin, "Evil Dead" far surpassed
industry projections of about $20 million for the film following
a strong $1.8 million in midnight showings on Thursday.
Last weekend's box office leader, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation,"
fought its way into a virtual tie with animated Stone Age comedy
"The Croods," now in its third week in theaters, with each
taking in $21.1 million, according to estimates from
Hollywood.com's box office division.
The 3-D "Jurassic Park" re-release was fourth with $18.2
million in ticket sales, and "Olympus Has Fallen" rounded out
the top five with sales of slightly more than $10 million,
squeaking past "Tyler Perry's Temptation", which came in sixth
at $10 million.
"It's just a great opening, the film delivered in a big
way," said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures' president of worldwide
distribution, noting that the $26 million haul was far above its
hopes for something in the high teens or low 20s for the film
that had a budget of about $17 million.
"Fede Alvarez certainly made Sam Raimi proud with the film
he delivered," Bruer added.
Raimi, who wrote and directed the 1981 film, was a producer
on the low-budget horror film and hand picked first-time
director Alvarez, who co-wrote the slasher film's script with
Diablo Cody, a 2008 screenwriting Oscar winner for the quirky
Jane Colburn Levy, the 23-year-old star of the ABC TV comedy
"Suburgatory," plays Mia, a heroin addict who overcomes demonic
possession and eventually kills the demon with a chainsaw.
Sony, which distributed the film, marketed "Evil
Dead"'s heavy dose of blood and gore with screenings at the
South by Southwest Film Festival last month and mounted an
advertising blitz featuring the tagline "the most terrifying
film you will ever see."
Raimi also directed "Oz The Great and Powerful," which
finished seventh this weekend with $8.2 million in sales. The
Disney film is the year's best-selling film, with $212.8 million
in ticket sales in its fifth week in theaters.
"Jurassic Park 3D" marked the 20th anniversary of the
trend-setting special effects film that had worldwide ticket
sales of $921 million and spawned a franchise of three films
that together generated sales of $1.9 billion.
Noting that the film scored one of the bigger openings for
the re-release of a film in 3-D, Universal said the result
proved "that with the right movie and a quality conversion, a
classic film can still be a significant draw for filmgoers."
The total "affirms what Steven Spielberg and Universal knew
going into the conversion process - seeing 'Jurassic Park' on
the big screen is a unique experience that new audiences and
those who've seen it over the years in various other formats
would relish," Universal added.
The conversion to 3D took more than 700 artists over nine
months to complete, according to Universal Pictures,
which distributed the film. It said it spent $10 million for the
The studio will release the 3D version of the film on
Blu-ray April 23. It has also scheduled a fourth "Jurassic Park"
film next summer.
Hollywood's recent fascination with re-releasing old hits in
3D has a mixed record. The remake of "Titanic" registered $17.3
million in weekend sales a year ago, and went on to total $57.9
million in domestic ticket sales. News Corp's Fox
studio spent $18 million on the conversion.
But "Monsters, Inc.", the Pixar-produced animated film
generated only $4.8 million in ticket sales when Walt Disney
released it last year just before Christmas. It totaled
$33.8 million overall.