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Box Office: Disney’s ‘Oz’ Clicking at $80 Million

Mouse's pricey prequel on track for $23 mil Friday haul

It may not be adored by critics but Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” is practically magic at the domestic box office.

Sam Raimi’s 3D blockbuster, according to early estimates, is gearing up for an impressive $23 million haul Friday with a projected $80 million for the weekend. That’s slightly below the $90 million murmurs for the “Wizard of Oz” prequel but more than enough for the Mouse House to feel secure with its $215 million fantasy tentpole.

Despite a 59% fresh rating on Rottentomatoes, “Oz” reps the biggest opening of the year and the third-highest debut ever in March, thanks to mass family appeal as well as the built-in aud awareness of its story.

“We’re in a unique position with the ‘Oz’ brand,” Disney distribution topper Dave Hollis recently told Variety. “With the ambition of targeting every audience segment, you have to have a message that caters to all of them.”

“Oz” launches this weekend in every major foreign market except France and China, where it bows March 29.

Domestically, the adventure-fantasy is also dwarfing sophomore competitor “Jack the Giant Slayer,” having dropped an estimated 55% to $13 million in its second frame. Warner Bros.’ 3D tentpole, which opened to only $27.2 million last week, expands globally today.

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