‘Hansel and Gretel’ staggers to top spot

Pic earns $19 mil in Stateside bow; Newcomers 'Parker' and 'Movie 43' fare poorly in year's first down weekend

Fettered by an R rating and frigid weather in much of the country, Paramount-MGM’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” won the weekend Stateside with $19 million but did not exceed modest expectations.

Overseas, meanwhile, “Django Unchained” (via Sony) claimed its second consecutive box office victory, grossing $42.9 million. Total is $111.5 million.

“Hansel and Gretel,” costing $50 million, did better internationally with $25 million for a worldwide cume of $54.8 million, including last weekend’s early debut in Russia. Leading the pic’s overseas charge this weekend was Brazil, contributing $4.5 million, followed by Mexico, with $3.7 million.

Domestically, the past weekend was the first of 2013 in which the top film didn’t perform better than expected, after “Texas Chainsaw,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and last weekend’s “Mama.” Pre-weekend tracking had “Hansel and Gretel” pegged to land in the high teens or low-$20 millions.

“The good news is the worldwide gross in amazing,” said Megan Colligan, prexy of domestic distribution and marketing for Par. “It’s clear that the international box office is going to double domestic.”

A pair of sub-par debuts from FilmDistrict’s “Parker,” at $7 million, and Relativity Media’s “Movie 43” ($5 million) helped drive the domestic box office down 17%, the first weekend of this year to slip past last year’s totals.

The slump took longer to arrive than B.O. observers had anticipated. This time last year, Open Road’s “The Grey” debuted with nearly $20 million, boosted by three other $10 million-plus grossers.

Only two other pics reached double digits this weekend: Universal’s chiller “Mama” earned a projected $12.9 million, down 55%, while the Weinstein Co.’s “Silver Linings Playbook” made $10 million, falling only 7, for a Stateside cume of $69.5 million. “Mama” reached nearly $50 million through Sunday.

Disney-DreamWorks’ “Lincoln” dropped just 29% in its 12th weekend for a three-day gross of $3.9 million.

“Lincoln,” which expanded overseas via Fox, earning $10.7 million this weekend, nears $170 million Stateside, putting it just behind “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” ($179.9 million) as Steven Spielberg’s 11th highest-grossing domestic release. Global cume is $181.8 million globally.

Weinstein’s other awards contender, “Django Unchained,” fell just 35% in its fifth frame, grossing $5 million, for a cume of $146.3 million. “Django” has reached north of $257 million worldwide, including a growing international tally from 64 markets.

Boosted by its five Academy Award nominations, including best picture and director, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Amour” saw an estimated nearly $581,000 this weekend from 64 locations, up from 36. Pic averaged $7,515 per screen. Domestic cume is $1.8 million.

‘R’-aunch staunch

Competing R-rated titles including “Django” made it difficult for “Hansel and Gretel” to exceed expectations. That overcrowding helped PG-13-rated “Mama” last weekend. Not surprisingly, “Hansel,” which saw a respectable 66% from 3D (including 11% Imax), drew 55% of its three-day opening from men, with 57% of the aud over 25.

“Our sweet spot was the 18-35 demo,” noted Colligan, who added that filmgoers under 18 contributed 11% of the pic’s debut. “Were there more that wanted to see the film and couldn’t because of the rating? It’s hard to say,” she added.

Still, Colligan said wintry weather on the East Coast greatly affected the film’s latenight grosses, a boon time for pics like “Hansel and Gretel.”

Adding to the market’s R-rated glut, Jason Statham actioner “Parker” and star-studded ensemble laffer “Movie 43” each represent comparatively inexpensive ventures. “Movie 43,” which received a dismal D CinemaScore, cost just $6 million to produce; “Parker” (with a B+ rating) was financed for around $30 million by Sierra/Affinity, Incentive Filmed Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Both pics are aided financially by significant foreign pre-sales.

Meanwhile, Relativity owns worldwide rights to “Movie 43,” with Lionsgate and Relativity Intl. partnering on overseas sales and distribution. The film opened Jan. 1 in Russia, totaling $8.5 million and counting.

‘Sky’ falls in China

Making its Chinese debut a week ago today, Sony-MGM’s “Skyfall” tallied a stellar $35.4 million on the mainland, 4% more than “The Amazing Spider-Man” locally and 9% ahead of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Both of those pics launched on the same day in China, however.

“Skyfall” reached north of $775 million internationally, with more than $1.078 billion worldwide, the eighth-highest global gross of all time.

Also making a notable bow in Japan this weekend, Fox’s “Life of Pi” earned $4.6 million locally (72% from 3D), boosting the pic’s overseas tally to $422.4 million for a whopping worldwide gross of nearly $526 million. “Pi” has only Venezuela left to open on Feb. 8.